An MP has revealed that he is personally paying for a management consultancy firm to scrutinise the temporary closure of a North Yorkshire A&E department to critically-ill patients.
Richmond MP Rishi Sunak has called on Carnall Farrar, a healthcare management consultancy which has worked throughout the NHS, to examine the decisions made about Northallerton’s Friarage Hospital.
South Tees NHS Foundation Trust decided to close the A&E to the most seriously-ill patients after problems recruiting enough medics at the hospital.
Safety fears have been raised over the move, which means some patients are being diverted to Middlesbrough or Darlingtonton, 30 minutes away by car.
Mr Sunak, a junior Communities Minister, says he is paying for the consultancy firm personally. A spokesman declined to reveal the cost of the report but said it was a “substantive piece of work”.
The Tory MP said: “I want to make sure we have left no stone unturned in this process as we seek to protect services at the Friarage.
“It is important that we have independent advice to help us scrutinise the trust’s actions and what the doctors tell us about their vision for the future of the hospital.”
“I don’t take anything I am told at face value. I question everything and this consulting firm will assist me to ask the key questions and provide an independent assessment of what is being proposed.”
Mr Sunak has asked Carnall Farrar to produce a report on the South Tees Trust’s plans for the Friarage by the end of April. The findings will be made public.
It emerged last week that Action group Save Friarage Hospital hopes to overturn the move after launched legal proceedings, backed by law firm Irwin Mitchell. The judicial review application could see the legality of the temporary closure tested in court.