Labour candidates plan new petition against Dewsbury hospital plans

HIGH HOPES Jo Cox and Paula Sherriff with campaigners.
HIGH HOPES Jo Cox and Paula Sherriff with campaigners.

Two Labour Party hopefuls are organising a petition calling on the Health Secretary to put on hold controversial plans to downgrade services at Dewsbury and District Hospital.

It follows reports that incoming NHS boss Simon Stevens wants smaller community hospitals to play a bigger role in the health system, especially in the care of older patients. Mr Stevens made the comments in a national newspaper interview.

The planned reorganisation at Dewsbury by the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust was given the go-ahead by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in March.

It means there will be changes to its A&E and maternity departments and the loss of its children’s ward – with services being centralised at Pinderfields in Wakefield.

Labour’s Jo Cox, prospective parliamentary candidate for Batley and Spen, said: “Simon Stevens has endorsed what campaigners for our hospital knew all along – community hospitals have a key role to play in our NHS. A one size fits all drive to centralisation is outdated and ineffective.

“It’s now time for the Tory government and the local trust, to heed his advice and go back to the drawing board. Our message to the Tory government is clear – our community won’t stand by while you turn our hospital into a shell.”

Healthcare worker Paula Sherriff, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Dewsbury, added: “I have met nobody in Dewsbury who thinks these plans are a good idea, including the 33,000 who signed our petition. It’s time for the Tory government to think again. Dewsbury needs a proper local hospital.”

The pair will open up the new petition this week.