We should all be alarmed

I read with interest Dr Matt Shepherds’ reply to Dr Thimmegowda’s letter highlighting the Nicholls report which condemns the closure of local hospitals and/or their services which then necessitates extra transport times to larger regional centres.

Dr Shepherd offers us the scenario that ambulance staff driving almost 10 miles to Pinderfields from Dewsbury (however well trained they may be), are a viable and comparable alternative to specialist treatment in a fully functioning A&E unit such as we currently have at Dewsbury but which the Mid Yorks NHS Trust wish to downgrade – on their say so and with little regard to the opposition of thousands of local people.

Dr Shepherd (and the Trust) disregard the full study undertaken by Nicholls as out of date yet, despite many requests at their public consultation meetings, they are unable to furnish us with viable current research data to the contrary – other than odd selected comments that they ‘believe’.

Only this week, the College of Emergency Medicine has issued a report stating that almost 18 and a half million visits were made to A&E departments in Britain last year and that within months the system could collapse. Dr Matt Shepherd says ‘patients who suffer a heart attack the ambulance will bypass both local hospitals and take them straight to Leeds where the appropriate specialists can give them exactly the right life saving treatments.’

This week on News at Ten, LGI state that they are dealing with unsustainable work loads and Dr Taj Hassan states that ‘at times’ the staff feel the care they are trying to deliver where safety is compromised is a concern for all of us.

Dr Shepherd says we should not be alarmed and based on this evidence that has been reported today I would reply to him that we all should be very alarmed!

Pinderfields is already showing signs of being overwhelmed and has been on purple alert on several occasions. If these proposals go ahead then the queues at Pinderfields are likely to get even longer.

The new hospital at Pinderfields, which bleeds money at the expense of Dewsbury Hospital, is the one which needs specialist treatment. Let the Trust sort out the mess they have caused before downgrading our local services.

JAN SETTLE

Harefield Drive

BATLEY