Stop atrocious downgrading of A&E at Dewsbury and District Hospital

The Mid Yorkshire Health Authority’s spin, supported by Miss Fishwick, consultant gynaecologist, in the Dewsbury Reporter, May 11, for changes in women’s and children’s services is yet again astonishing to say the least.

Like many of your readers, I have yet to digest the ‘magic minutes of 15’ from the sick bed in Dewsbury hospital to the ambulance and transporting and transferring to another sick bed in Pinderfields.

A damning report in the Mail on Sunday seriously criticises those in favour of changes to the A&E departments. This report highlights the catastrophic changes of the closing or downgrading of A&E departments. There was a rise of 37 per cent more deaths since closure of the A&E department in Newark, Nottingham.

This report re-enforces the research carried out by the distinguished scientist scholar John Nicholls of Sheffield University. His research data in the Emergency Medicine Journal suggests that a straight line ambulance journey distance ranged from 0–58km with a median of 5km caused 6.2 per cent more deaths. Therefore the distance of travel is directly related to the number of deaths.

This report supported by many others raises serious questions and major concerns to the notion that re-configuration of emergency care to concentrate services in a limited number of specialist centres could save lives.

The Newark study, Professor Nicholls research and other studies are testimonial, and leading politicians and the Royal College of general practitioners have voiced their grave concerns.

Therefore the moratorium on closures and the downgrading of A&E departments must be halted until a national evidence based study is undertaken. Mid Yorkshire Health Authority’s consultation process is flawed and there are signs already introducing changes by the back door. North Kirklees Clinical Commission Group has full responsibility for saving lives locally and I appeal to them to stop these atrocious changes of downgrading A&E departments and changes to women and children’s services.

They have the ultimate responsibility to answer questions when lives are lost in North Kirklees.

Dr Thimmegowda

General Practitioner