Freedom of the City for NHS York

Thanks to those who have supported the plan to offer the Freedom of the City to NHS York

To confirm, you can add your support at the following web site 

&/or you can forward an email of support to the Lord Mayor at


In recognition of the work undertaken by professionals, key workers, and volunteers during the Coronavirus pandemic in York, the City Council is asked to offer the Freedom of the City to NHS York.

This is a simple way for the City of York to say “thank you” to the many people who have “gone the extra mile” during the very challenging circumstances of the last year. It is suggested that recognition of key NHS staff is one way of highlighting the work of all key sector workers in the City.

The granting of the Freedom of the City is an ancient privilege most often exercised when recognising military units. The last award was made in 2015 to the Queens Gurka Signals.

We hope that you will feel able to support the petition which asks for the Freedom of the City to be offered to NHS York on behalf of all those key workers and volunteers who have contributed towards getting us through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Petition started to recognise the efforts of key workers in York

Residents are being invited to support a petition which would see the “Freedom of the City of York” offered to NHS York in recognition of the work undertaken by all key workers during the pandemic.

The petition reads

In recognition of the work undertaken by professionals, key workers and volunteers during the Coronavirus pandemic in York, the City Council is asked to offer the Freedom of the City to NHS York.

This is a simple way for the City of York to say “thank you” to the many people who have “gone the extra mile” during the very challenging circumstances of the last year. It is suggested that recognition of key NHS staff is one way of highlighting the work of all key sector workers in the City. 

The granting of the Freedom of the City is an ancient privilege most often exercised when recognising military units. The last  award was made in 2015 to the Queens Gurka Signals.

Coronavirus York updates; 27th February 2021


One hospital death announced today. It occurred on Thursday. Takes the number of fatalities at the York Hospital Trust up to 352 (since 1st September 2020).

Test Results

Eighteen additional positive test results today bringing cumulative total to 11,841

There are a total of 163 cases in the City – the same as yesterday

The rate /100k population has remained at 77.39.

It is forecast to rise to over 81 tomorrow. That would be the highest rate recorded since 14th February.

The rate in North Yorkshire has shown a small increase


Residents can get details of the impact of the pandemic on their local area by entering their postcode at this NHS website click

There is little change at neighbourhood level to report today.



4394 York people had a PCR test during the week ending 22nd February

Of these, 3.6% were positive. That is a small improvement on yesterdays figure (3.7%).

1149 “lateral flow” tests were carried out in the City on 26th February

Coronavirus York updates: 28th April 2020

Deaths & Recoveries

A TOTAL of 111 patients with coronavirus have now died at York NHS trust hospitals – but more than 170 have been discharged after treatment. It said 69 patients had died at York Hospital, which is an increase of 19 on this day last week.

Home deliveries

A list of “local and independent food out lets near you” leaflet is currently being delivered by Royal Mail to all residents. The list is far from comprehensive particularly in west York. Ward Councillors should have taken responsibility for ensuring that all every store offering home delivery – including takeaways – was included.

NHS is open

There are concerns that fewer people contacting the NHS for non-coronavirus related conditions could create future problems.  As a result, the NHS are reminding people they are very much “open for business” and people should continue to contact them with any health problems they may have.

Residents should contact the NHS by phone or online in the first instance. We have attached key messages from the NHS. This document includes more information about the NHS “open for business” campaign, information on prescriptions, vaccinations, strokes, heart attack cancer and much more. Please share this information where possible.

  You can still contact your GP, 111 online or call 111 for help. If you are told to go to hospital, you must go so the NHS can give you the care you need.


Dentists have stopped providing routine dental care because of the coronavirus pandemic. If people are in need of urgent dental care they should first contact their usual dentist who should be able to triage them over the telephone and give appropriate advice. If they are not registered with a local dentist they need to contact NHS 111 for advice. Out of hours (evenings and weekends)  people should contact NHS 111.

Printed information for residents

The Council says that “our next resident direct mail focuses on health and wellbeing and should be arriving on doorsteps from Friday this week. It will also include a scam leaflet to offer residents advice on how to protect themselves from scams”.

Move the masses

One of the many incredible voluntary and community organisations we are working with is ‘Move the Masses.’

They have today released their latest figures of how much support they are offering across the city. In the past four and a half weeks they have:

  • Delivered 758 prescriptions
  • Made 116 hours worth of welfare calls
  • Paired up 156 people to receive calls and letters.

Their latest tweets are available at

We pass on a number of call from our helpline to move the masses.  This is just one example of several incredible organisations working together to help and protect residents.

Ask a question at the daily government briefing

The government has announced that from today it will answer one question from a member of the public at the daily coronavirus (COVID-19) press conference.

Those asking a question must be over 18 and if your question is chosen, a cabinet minister will answer it during the live broadcast. Questions will be reviewed at midday on the day of the press conference. Only one question will be selected* each day and the Government has advised the public that Ministers will not see the question before the press conference and that questions are chosen by an independent polling organisation, with no involvement from the government.

Residents can ask their question at

*So you would have a rather better chance of winning the lottery!

Coronavirus York Updates: 18th April 2020


 If anyone is struggling financially, or cannot access the internet to order food, please contact the Council on 01904 551550 or email This telephone line is open daily, including at the weekend when it’s open 8.30am – 5.30pm Saturday and Sunday.

Explore update re free magazine and newspaper access

Press Reader – the app giving free access to thousands of newspapers and magazines – is now live and free to access for anyone with an Explore library card. Explore was able to buy a subscription to Press Reader with part of the grant awarded last week by City of York council from the Covid-19 general support grant.  The latest information is available at

 Every Mind Matters

 With data showing over 4 in 5 adults are worried about the effect that coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on their life right now, with over half saying it affected their wellbeing and nearly half reporting high levels of anxiety Public Health England are reminding people to take steps to look after their mental health during this challenging period for everyone.

 Their Every Mind Matters website includes new NHS expert tips and advice on looking after mental wellbeing and supporting your family and loved ones during this time.

 Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have narrated a powerful new film in support of campaign and to encourage people to look after their mental and physical wellbeing.

 The Every Mind Matters campaign will be supported through social media, digital, national TV and partner support activity, helping to reach the audiences most at-risk of poor mental health  link to the video.

 Business update

5,500 York businesses have now benefitted from over £100m of grants and relief as City of York Council continues to support businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak.  A specialist team have worked round the clock to ensure businesses get the government grants and business rates relief as quickly as possible, whilst carrying out rigorous checks to make sure that fraudsters cannot take advantage of the situation.

The £100m is made up of two main funding sources, business rates relief which accounts for £66m and a further £34m in business grants paid out to over 2500 accounts. We are working through the remaining payments as quickly as possible.

Community support- food update

A city-wide operation encompassing York’s foodbank, the Council’s community hubs, community meal providers and local food businesses are helping ensure people get the food they need.

To service the council’s community hubs with food, the Council has created a central depot with volunteer drivers and vehicles to transport goods to the hubs. There, food boxes are put together and delivered to people identified through the Council’s dedicated support line.

From making phone calls to thousands of residents, the volunteers in the hubs are building a picture of the amount of food needed and how urgently, meeting special dietary needs and adding to the Government-supplied food.

The council’s support line is also helping people who can afford to buy their shopping but can’t get a delivery slot, or who people who can’t order online.

An interim list of businesses offering doorstep deliveries has been published.

It can be downloaded from this link

NHS services

 Colleagues at the Vale of York CCG have issued an important message reminding patients that the NHS is still available for non Covid-19 related illnesses amid concerns patients may be putting off using NHS services for illnesses not related to coronavirus (Covid-19).

GP services, pharmacies, NHS 111, out-of-hours services and emergency departments are all still available to patients should they be needed.

For more information please see their press release


The Council says that in the coming days and weeks residents will be getting information delivered to them:

  • A leaflet promoting how to be a volunteer and what to do if you need help together with a leaflet promoting health information with a letter thanking the city for its resolve and containing important health information for people to keep is currently being delivered
  • A special copy of Our City magazine, bringing together information about resident support and council services in one place will be delivered w/c 20 April
  • A leaflet sharing the names and contact details of local independent food suppliers who can deliver or arrange collection
  • A booklet providing more information to support your wellbeing over this extended lockdown.

York dental services report will be published “before the end of the year”

The York Council says that a report on the future of dental health in the City – promised last year – will be published before the end of 2019

The new timetable has been supplied in response to a Freedom of Information request.

There has been continuing concern in the City about lack of vacancies at local dentists for NHS patients. Recently the only recorded vacancies for new patients on the NHS web site were, ironically, at the Bupa practice.

NHS web site listings

Healthwatch York published a report into dental services in the City last year. (Their web site is down at the moment)

The FOI response says, “An Oral Health Strategy has been drafted for children and young people, in response to data obtained from an oral health needs assessment carried out recently. This strategy will be published by the end of 2019“.

However, it goes on to say that the Councils public health department doesn’t monitor the waiting list for services. It says that is a an NHS responsibility.

We have been unable to find any recent figures indicating the overall length of dental waiting lists in the City.

Bootham Park hospital sale confirmed

Will go on open market shortly

 The government has confirmed that the empty Bootham Park hospital building and surrounding site will be sold on the open market.

There had been hopes in some quarters that the Listed building could be saved for some sort of community/health use.

A joint statement from Chief Executive of City of York Council, Accountable Officer at Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group and Chief Executive of York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was issued today.

“We have been notified by the Department of Health and Social Care that they plan to proceed with the sale of the Bootham Hospital site. We have worked hard together to develop an alternative plan to make the site deliver for York, so we are very disappointed with this outcome.

“Our efforts certainly don’t end here. We will continue working together to help NHS Property Services work with any bidders to understand the importance of the site and the opportunities it could offer the people of York.

“We would like to thank all the residents and the local community for contributing to discussions about the future of the site. We understand that you will share our disappointment at this news.

“We have many opportunities as a partnership, neighbouring landowners and planning authority to represent your many comments and ideas for Bootham Park – from transport links to respecting the site’s heritage –  in our discussions with bidders to shape their plans for the site.”


1766 York patients denied surgery because they are overweight?

A report to a council meeting next week reveal how many patients in York have had elective surgery delayed because they’re overweight.

The Vale of York CCG’s “Health Optimisation policy” started in February 2017. Patients seeking operations but who had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30 faced possible delays.

There was a long list of procedures that were not affected by the policy.

The CCG said it had learned from elsewhere that implementation of this policy could contribute to confined financial management while providing the opportunity for improving the health of the population.

Other claimed that the policy was driven by cost cutting rather than patient welfare.

The criteria used was If a patient’s BMI>=30 their surgery if delayed/deferred until the following was achieved:

  1. Their BMI is <30
  2. They’ve lost 10% of their weight
  3. They’ve not achieved a or b but have waited 12 months since initial assessment.

Since its inception of Health Optimisation in February 2017 the Referral Support Service have sent out 1,766 letters for patients that exceed BMI criteria. Not all of these had to wait before joining the a waiting list.

The CCG has claimed some anecdotal evidence that patients have reported to their GPs that as a result of losing weight, in accordance with the policy, the pain they were previously suffering from had dissipated. Some patients did not therefore require surgery.

Bootham Park Hospital

The future of the 240-year-old former mental hospital is under the spotlight as Ministers consider its future.

The building was taken out of service 4 years ago when a catalogue of defects were found by quality inspectors. These included rat infested cellars and collapsing ceilings.

The hospital was ordered to be closed in September 2015 when it was declared “unfit for purpose” A modern replacement facility is being provided.

The events surrounding the closure were heavily criticised in a York Council report which concluded that NHS Property Services “significantly underestimated the logistic and practical challenges of upgrading a Grade I listed building where shortcomings had been identified over many years”

Running costs on a building of this age are huge.  Energy and repair costs represent a constant drain on owners.

Now the local MP says the building should reopen as an NHS facility. She says “key workers in the health health sector” should be accommodated there.

Really? Offering valued employees pre-Victorian housing standards will move us forward in some way?There is only very limited scope to build on other brownfield sections of the site

No costings for the “plan” are offered much less any source of funding. We are assured though that the open space on the site will be retained as an additional public “park”.

Converting the listed building into residential accommodation would be very expensive even if it was in sound structure condition.

It isn’t.

Costs would be measured in  tens of millions. If such funding is available, then it is desperately needed to provide modern buildings for our ailing NHS.

Bootham Park is a valuable part of the heritage of the City. It’s Listed status means that it can’t be demolished. Planners could ensure that the parkland surrounding it is respected (although, in recent years, urban green space conservation hasn’t been the strong point of the York Council).

It is by no means certain that the private sector would want to acquire the hospital. The high modernisation costs would be the same for them as would ongoing running costs. Grade 1 listing means that only very limited physical changes could be undertaken.

But all options should be put on the table.

In the end, if a different use for the building is found, and this produces a substantial capital receipt for health providers in York, then this could most effectively be invested in modern facilities for patients and staff in the NHS.

And the local MP should stop posturing. She is too quick to blame developers of “luxury homes”, student flats and hotels for every challenge that faces the City.

Indeed, we would be in a pickle if developers did not want to invest in York.

Inspection report boost for York Hospital

Services at York Hospital ‘most improved’ after recent CQC inspection

York Hospital has seen its service rating upgraded to ‘Good’ after a recent a team of CQC inspectors visited York, Scarborough, and Bridlington Hospitals to check on the quality of core services.

Previously, The York Hospital was adjudged to ‘Require Improvement’ by the CQC and over Winter period, was adversely affected by the Winter crisis. In response, the Liberal Democrats made significant investments in York’s Adult Social Care system, through the 2018/19 Council Budget, to alleviate pressure on The York Hospital and reduce York’s Delayed Transfers of Care.

The York Hospital has now been found to be the most improved hospital in the York Teaching Hospital Trust and more specifically, has improved considerably in responding to the needs of people in York.

The York Teaching Hospital Trust as a whole, still ‘Requires Improvement’ and more work is needed to achieve widespread progress and maintain improvements.  The Liberal Democrats will continue to work and assist The York Hospital, where possible, to ensure quality services are provided to all residents.

Cllr Carol Runciman, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Adult Social Care, said:

“Over recent months, a significant amount of effort has been made to improve services at The York Hospital and ensure residents receive quality care when they need too.

“I am pleased that this has now been recognised by the CQC and that The York Hospital itself is now operating well.”

“The Liberal Democrats have recognised the detrimental affect of the Winter Crisis on the York Hospital and in turn, have secured over £3 million to invest in Adult Social Care and relieve pressure on the hospital.”

“Of course, there is still work to be done, but it is now recognised that The York Hospital is responsive to the needs of people using their services and it can lead improvement in our region.”


As part of the CQC review into York Teaching Hospital Trust, a team of inspectors visited York, Scarborough, and Bridlington Hospitals to review their core services