THE head of a health watchdog has called for the end of the postal code lottery against the provisions of the NHS, following a series of cuts and threats aimed at essential services.

Councilor Jim Clark, chair of the North Yorkshire Health Monitoring Committee, said patients in some areas of the county were facing unprecedented reductions.

A committee meeting was informed that a decision to remove a minor injury service provided by general practitioners in the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby areas could exacerbate pressure on hospitals and cost the lives of patients.

In the meantime, members learned that it was not acceptable that changes had been made to the patient transportation service without any consultation.

Counselors also raised doubts about the future of outpatient services for breast cancer at Scarborough Hospital and critical care services at the Friarage Hospital.

Cll Clark pointed to the loss of the Harrogate Hospital's high blood pressure service, the Friarage Hospital's mental health services, and threats to smaller hospitals in Ripon, Easingwold, and Richmond.

He said, "We seem to be suffering from a lot of loss of services. I do not think there has ever been such a loss of services in the NHS. Politicians on TV say more and more money is being invested in the NHS, but that does not seem to be coming in North Yorkshire. It is a national health service. There should be equal treatment throughout the area we cover. "