Changes planned to stem losses of £100,000 a day

HOSPITAL bosses have announced service reform plans in the months since the Health Service Journal analysis was compiled.

Dewsbury loses out in both proposals, with maternity downgraded in one and both maternity and A&E downgraded in the other.

The Staincliffe site may be left with an emergency care centre handling cases like sprained or broken bones and cuts needing stitches.

Patients with more serious problems would be taken to other hospitals. 

This already happens in some situations – those with complex needs can be transferred to Pinderfields or hospitals in Leeds for specialist care.

MidYorkshire’s interim chief executive Stephen Eames said the changes were partly to stem the trust’s £100,000 aday losses.  

He said: “All three hospitals, including Dewsbury, are losing money each day and this is not sustainable. No change is not an option.”

But Mirfieldborn Mr Eames insisted changes in medicine were also a driving force, with ‘general’ hospitals now an outdated concept.

He said: “Medicine has become increasingly specialised over the last 20 years. In the past, hospitals were staffed by general surgeons.

“Now, surgery is split into a large number of specialities, such as vascular surgery. The concept of a general surgeon is largely obsolete. 

“This applies equally to other areas like children’s services and means the staff required to deliver a full range of hospital services has increased. 

“The introduction of more complex medical and surgical procedures also  allows patients of ‘increased risk’ to be cared for. 

“It requires specialist provision, which in turn requires a sufficient number or ‘critical mass’ of patients to use the service. 

“The number of procedures that can be safely delivered in outpatient or community settings has also risen, meaning the nature of patients being treated in hospital will change.

“Dewsbury has in the past been able to provide a reasonably comprehensive range of clinical services.

“But it has become increasingly difficult to continue delivering all of these services on a safe, sustainable and affordable basis.”

Union to ballot on strike action

Health service union Unison is to ballot 538 clerical workers on strike action next week after the MidYorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust put 74 staff on provisional notice of redundancy.

Unison regional organiser Jim Bell said a stoppage, which could be for a day or longer, may be held from November 1 if the strike is approved.

Staff including medical secretaries, receptionists and ward clerks could go. The trust claims no more than 55 of them will be made redundant.

Mr Bell said: “This wouldn’t be an aggressive strike. It would be a defensive one. We’re trying to protect jobs, services and the public.

“The trust say they’re trying to protect frontline services, but in getting rid of what they term ‘back office’ jobs, they’re doing the opposite.

“Consultants and nurses will end up spending more time chasing paperwork, rather than doing the vital jobs they're actually paid to do.”

Trust savaged over ward conditions

The MidYorkshire Trust was savaged in a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over a day ward at Pinderfields.

Patients were found by inspectors during an unannounced visit on September 5 to have no proper washing or catering facilities.

They also found some patients between July and August had been on the surgical ward for up to four days.

The CQC has imposed an ‘urgent legal restriction’ banning patients from being treated in the unit for more than 23 hours.

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