Hospital bed cuts plan is revealed

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DOZENS of beds will be lost at Dewsbury and District Hospital as part of a service shake-up.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has revealed plans to close 54 beds at Dewsbury in the next three months.

The beds, which have been open for less than a year, were among 76 added by the debt-ridden Trust last September at a cost of £3.5m.

Other plans include working with GPs to cut demand on emergency services and moving a rehabilitation service to Dewsbury.

This week, the Trust said it aimed to cut overall demand for its emergency departments by eight per cent by the end of the financial year.

It is working with GPs in the Wakefield district to increase the number of patients being seen by their local practices.

The Trust’s interim chief executive Stephen Eames said: “We plan to minimise demand on hospitals for those activities and procedures than can be done perfectly well in different settings.”

Although any reduction in people going to A&E is expected mainly at Pontefract and Pinderfields in Wakefield, there are no plans to close beds at those sites.

The beds being closed at Dewsbury were originally introduced to cope with demand during winter and patients from the Wakefield district who could not be treated at the Pinderfields site.

Under the plans, the Trust’s neurological rehabilitation service will move in the autumn to Dewsbury hospital where it will be combined with the stroke rehabilitation service.

Mr Eames said: “This is good for patients and in the longer-term may give us the opportunity to further expand and develop this specialist service.”

The neurological service covers Calderdale, Huddersfield and Wakefield. It currently treats around 100 patients each year, with some staying for months.

In addition to offering extra rehabilitation services, Dewsbury will have room for a winter ward which will be brought into use during times of extra pressure on services.