Retired GP speaks out on future of Clitheroe Community Hospital

Female physician in lab coat and mask isolated on white
Female physician in lab coat and mask isolated on white

a RETIRED Clitheroe GP has set out a compelling case for why Clitheroe Community Hospital must be developed to better serve the people of Ribble Valley.

Plans for a new purpose-built hospital on land next to the existing site in Chatburn Road were shelved last year after NHS East Lancashire was forced to review its budgets due to the economic downturn.

In the wake of that decision, pressure has been growing to retain and enhance the services provided by the existing hospital, housed in what was originally Clitheroe’s workhouse. It has included a 4,000-name “Save Clitheroe Hospital” petition.

Last month we reported a new pledge by NHS East Lancashire to upgrade and develop health services at the hospital, its chief executive Steve Spoerry saying: “We recognise the case for investment has not changed and now the onus is on us to plan a way forward from within the resources we do have.

“Just leaving the hospital as it is over the next five to 10 years is not an option. It’s an ageing facility and we need to ensure there is a sensible plan for its future.”

To that end, NHS East Lancashire is currently consulting local doctors and health staff, Ribble Valley councillors and officers and local people, with a report setting out the options expected in May.

Now, retired and respected local GP Dr W.J. David McKinlay MBE has compiled his own briefing paper setting out the key reasons why Ribble Valley needs to develop Clitheroe Community Hospital. It is intended as an aid to key figures, such as Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans and borough council leader Michael Ranson, in their discussions with NHS East Lancahshire.

But Dr McKinlay also believes local people deserve to be aware of the reasons why their local hospital is so important.

“I appreciate this is a long document – there is so much evidence – but the issue is so vital to the Ribble Valley’s future welfare,” he said. “I am sure now is a good time to make all potential users aware of the strong evidence for keeping the hospital at the centre of our health and social care provision.”

You can read Dr McKinlay’s full briefing paper in this week’s Clitheroe Advertiser & Times