Councillor quits health board over Dewsbury A&E closure proposal

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A COUNCILLOR has quit his role on a health board after learning that Dewsbury and District Hospital’s accident and emergency department could close.

Coun Paul Kane (Lab, Dews East) resigned from the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee on Mid Yorkshire Future Hospital Services yesterday.

He said he felt unable to stay in the position, which he has held for 14 years, with the future of such a vital service in doubt.

He said he had seen a confidential briefing note on cost-cutting measures which floats the idea of shutting A&E.

“I’ve got severe concerns about this,” he said. “I’ve been extremely supportive of understanding why services are being changed, but this one is too far. I want a concerted effort by all council members to get together and stop these proposals.”

In a joint statement, the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust and NHS Kirklees said: “We began the process of developing a new clinical services strategy last year. Our aim is to secure high quality services that provide local people – and future generations – with the best possible results for their health well into the future. Through talking to people it is also clear that we need to look beyond hospitals and do things differently in GP practices and in community care. 

“Since we started this process last year, the full extent of the financial challenge at the hospital trust has become clear. Therefore, we have been revisiting the initial options to see if there are other ways to provide clinically safe services which are also financially sustainable.

“We are currently working with a wide range of people to develop proposals for how services might be organised in the future. Many of the options being looked at internally may not be taken any further.

“It is vital to emphasise that this is part of a long process that will take us into next year. No decisions have been made about the long term future of any services and will only be taken after consultation with the public.”