MP fears for future of healthcare

MP Mike Wood.(131034)
MP Mike Wood.(131034)

The promised investment at Dewsbury and District Hospital has divided the district’s MPs just as earlier plans for services had done.

Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood has been a major critic of the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust’s proposals for Dewsbury, arguing they will lead to poorer healthcare for his constituents.

He said the announcement about spending on the site was “window dressing” to disguise the damaging impact of those earlier proposals.

“Trumpeting it as some great contribution to healthcare in North Kirklees is over egging the pudding a bit,” he said. “I presume the same kind of process is going on at the other two hospitals.”

He said people expected the Trust to spend money improving facilities at their local hospital, and it did not compensate for the loss of key acute services to Wakefield.

But Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Simon Reevell, who has supported the Trust’s service proposals, welcomed the investment.

Mr Reevell (Con) said: “I hope this means the idea of the hospital closing is gone. We’re talking about how it’s going to work, not whether it’s going to be here or not.

“The idea that somebody carrying an MRI scanner through the front door is some sort of smokescreen is bizarre. I think what’s very obvious from the sort of plans they’re talking about, is they want to provide modern, up-to-date facilities.

“£20m is a lot of money. I want to see it spent on MRI scanners and upgrading theatres, not refurbishing buildings nobody needs to use anymore.”

The Trust is working up more detailed plans for the physical changes to the site on the basis that its services proposals will get the go ahead.

Mr Wood (Lab) said: “Consistently since they’ve produced their reorganisation plans, they have assumed it’s a done deal.

“We’ve already seen the way teams work restructured, now we’re seeing plans for buildings being demolished and reorganisation on the ground. It’s all based on the premise that what they want to do is the only answer.

“They says it’s a done deal, but I think the referral back proves it’s not. I remain hopeful that the Secretary of State and clinicians he’s obliged to refer it back to will see it’s dangerous as I do.”

Meanwhile, campaigners fighting the service proposals said they were not convinced either by the latest announcement from the Trust.

Save Dewsbury Hospital founding member Dathan Tedesco said: “This disgusting and shameful piece of spin designed to disguise the fact that local services are being drastically scaled back.”

The group has collected more than 30,000 signatures opposing any cuts to services as part of its ongoing campaign.

Fellow campaigner Coun Karen Rowling (Lab, Dews West) said: “£1.2m for an MRI scanner is great, but that means £19m for a refurbishment of the hospital.

“We need money to be used to retain services. If there was all the money in the world you would want both, but it’s not the case.”

She said it was patronising to give £20m for a refurbishment at the same time as taking away services for those needing the most complex emergency, maternity and children’s inpatient care.

“This doesn’t compensate for losing all those services,” she said. “People from Dewsbury are going to have to travel to Pinderfields for the most acute services.”