1:44pm Thursday 22nd September 2011
By The Editor
For the many, many residents who have kept an anxious eye over developments at Wharfedale Hospital over the years an “absolute commitment” to its future would seem to be manna from heaven.
And that vow is exactly what Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s chief executive, Maggie Boyle, gave to two Otley Town councillors at a recent meeting about concerns over the hospital.
Councillors Carl Morris and Austin Kelly also came away from the meeting feeling re-assured that, contrary to the public perception, the £15 million facility is actually being well-used — with figures showing its surgical slots to be almost fully booked.
And in more positive news still they were given an assurance that the Wharfedale Hospital Forum — which had been set up as a watchdog to keep the local community informed about changes at the hospital, only to be wound down — is to re-start.
All of these developments are to be welcomed but Otley folk can also be forgiven if they take these promises from the trust, even such a categorical one from its leader herself, with a large pinch of salt.
Because the community has had its fingers burnt over the hospital several times before – most recently when its only remaining elderly ward was closed down, suddenly, in July, despite widespread public opposition.
The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding but finding an alternative use for the now-empty Ward 1 would go a long way to convincing people that their local hospital is here to stay.
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