PATIENTS in York must expect a shift away from local NHS care towards a more centralised service, according to regional NHS chiefs.

The message came from the latest meeting of the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which will take over responsibility for the region’s multimillion-pound NHS budget in April.

Dr Tim Hughes, CCG member and Kirkbymoorside GP, said: “We want more people to survive and recover from strokes and other conditions.

“Everybody wants things close by, but to get the outcomes people want things will move away from being local and that’s a real challenge to us.”

He said there had to be an “open and clear dialogue” about local services and centralisation and the recognise patients “could not have both things.”

The NHS has recently embarked on a number of cost- cutting measures, including a reduction in the opening hours of some minor injury units in rural areas, moving the service to larger hospitals.

When the CCG comes into existence it will inherit a share of the £12 million deficit run up by the outgoing NHS North Yorkshire and York PCT.

A recent report published by the trust was expected to suggest ways of cutting the deficit, but was heavily criticised for its lack of detail. Dr Hughes said: “The report just described a list of things everyone had to do and has left the CCGs to get on with it.”

Vale of York CCG will take over responsibility for spending the annual millions in Government cash on healthcare in York from April 1, when North Yorkshire and York PCT ceases to exist.

Vale of York board member Dr Tim Maycock said the outgoing NHS trust had “allocated as many units to as many people as possible” but that the systems were not supposed to be used long-term.