GPs to back A&E changes
PLANS to downgrade Dewsbury and District Hospital’s A&E department and centralise other services in Wakefield have won the support of local GPs.
A report to Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust board members said North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and its counterparts in Wakefield district were willing to back the proposals – but there would be conditions.
The Trust announced two options for the future of services at Dewsbury, Wakefield and Pontefract earlier this year.
Under the first option, Dewsbury would keep a full A&E department capable of handling more serious cases.
The second option would see the service downgraded to an urgent care centre for minor cases only, with the most serious dealt with at Wakefield.
Both options would mean Dewsbury loses its children’s inpatient service, consultant-led maternity service and special care baby unit.
The Trust’s report said: “Both CCGs have expressed support for option two although this will be linked to various conditions or caveats such as affordability and alignment with commissioning objectives and priorities.”
It said the Trust expected to be able to meet the conditions once it had drawn up its full business case.
The potential downgrading of A&E has proved unpopular in North Kirklees with around 10,000 people signing a Reporter Series petition against it.
But the North Kirklees and Wakefield CCGs said services had to be changed to make them affordable, clinically safe and more community based.
A joint statement said they expected the business case to show option two was the best plan.
It said: “The financial problems the Trust faces are well documented and, like so many other places in the country, a reorganisation of services is a vital part of plans for achieving financial balance.
“We realise that service changes are often viewed as ‘cuts’ even when they deliver better patient outcomes, but we need to act urgently to maintain and improve local services.”
The Trust is due to consult on its preferred option next year.