Thousands of patients are opting to be treated closer to home as Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust bids to expand its work in Leeds.
Board papers from the North Yorkshire trust show its vision includes an aim to continue to expand “secondary care services into Leeds and maximise income”.
More than 6,200 patients from north and west Leeds opted to receive care from the Harrogate trust in 2014/15 – 20 per cent more than in 2013/14.
The work mainly surrounds outpatient clinics operated by the Harrogate trust in Wetherby and Yeadon, which offer special services such as dermatology and orthopaedics.
The trust now also offers some services at Wharfedale Hospital and has developed its community midwifery offering in Otley and Yeadon to enable women to have their babies delivered at Harrogate District Hospital.
NHS commissioners in Leeds, who fund healthcare services for residents, have stated that the partnership work is not about Leeds services trying to cope with demand but more about offering patients choice.
A spokesman for Leeds North and West clinical commissioning groups described Harrogate’s offering as a “great example of partnership working” between hospital trusts in Leeds and North Yorkshire.
“Feedback from patients tells us that they prefer getting care closer to home,” he said. “As part of our efforts to address this we are keen to offer flexibility and choice of services from a range of locations where it is clinically safe to do so.”
Rob Harrison, chief operating officer at the Harrogate trust, added that it “aims to provide high quality care” and “as part of its strategy the trust has continued to expand the population it serves in order to offer choice to local residents.”