MORE ambulance patients whose nearest hospital is York will be sent to Harrogate instead, as a hospital trust expands its "boundary diverts".

The boundary arrangement between York Hospital and Harrogate District Hospital has been in place since May 2023 - but now it will be expanded.

Up until now, 33 postcodes across Ouseburn, Dunsforth, Hammerton, Long Marston, Shipton and Tadcaster were included in the arrangement whereby patients could face a longer journey to the hospital run by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, instead of York.

But now the areas facing a diversion will include 12 more postcodes in YO23.

York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs York Hospital, said the measure was temporary and will be reviewed.

It has not confirmed which areas within the YO23 postcode will be affected.

However, YO23 postcodes include Copmanthorpe, Bishopthorpe, Appleton Roebuck, Askham Bryan, Acaster Malbis, Askham Richard, Rufforth, and Middlethorpe. 

The Harrogate ambulance diversion will not include patients who have suffered strokes, major trauma, or heart attacks.


A spokesperson for York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: "Operational pressures are being felt across the NHS and our hospitals are no exception with high levels of attendance and ambulance arrivals, which is reflective of the national position.

"To manage peaks in demand for services, it’s common for emergency departments to seek short-term support from neighbouring hospitals and put in place short-term diverts in the interests of patient safety. 

"This involves patients who live in postcode catchments areas which are on the boundary between two hospitals, who may be brought into either hospital.  This helps reduce acute pressure on a particular hospital and reduces ambulance delays."

Healthwatch York, a group set up to influence local health and social care services, said patients wanted to be taken to a hospital as close to home as possible.

A Healthwatch spokesperson said: "People have told us they want to be seen as close to home as possible. We want everyone to be able to have timely access to quality care close to home.

"We know that being taken further afield can make things difficult for people receiving care, and their families. For example, with the cost of living crisis more people are telling us they cannot afford to travel to visit relatives in hospitals out of our area. 

"We sympathise with everyone working in and waiting at York Hospital. This is one of the worst times of the year for the NHS, reflected in this and other recent experiences.

"As a short term measure boundary divert can help to provide more timely access to hospital care during this tail end of the winter season."

The spokesperson added: "We have been pleased to be involved in making sure what matters to people in York has fed directly into the work happening across the city to manage the demand on urgent care. Longer term this should help to ease pressure on A&E and the staff working there."