Dewsbury Hospital loses more key services

DEWSBURY District Hospital is set to lose three key services as part of an NHS shakeup.
Trauma care, inpatient children’s surgery and the neonatal intensive care unit will all be moved to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield from early next year.
But more ‘general medicine’ will be conducted at Dewsbury and additional cots will be added to the hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit.
A new shuttle bus, funded by the MidYorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and local primary care trusts, will be provided for patients and visitors between Dewsbury, Pinderfields and Pontefract hospitals from January 2011.
All three of the Trust’s sites will continue to run separate accident and emergency departments but the viability of Pontefract’s casualty unit may have to be reviewed in the future.
MidYorkshire chief executive Julia Squire explained the shakeup to councillors at Dewsbury Town and Valley Committee this week and said that following a consultation exercise the National Clinical Advisory Team – health experts who scrutinise any changes in services – had given the plans the green light.
With Dewsbury’s proposed £29 million 60bed cancer and urology unit scrapped last year due to Government cuts, an extra 1,400 patients a year will be admitted into Dewsbury from the Wakefield and Pontefract areas at peak times of demand.
At the meeting Mrs Squire also revealed that the National Clinical Advisory Team had asked the Trust to review the longterm sustainability of children’s medical inpatients services and emergency surgery at Dewsbury, and also “revisit the business case recognising the need for more operating theatres at Dewsbury.”
Amid fears that Dewsbury hospital was being run down, Mrs Squire said: “Dewsbury will continue to have its own identity whilst being a part of the integrated organisation that is the MidYorkshire Trust.
“We need to ensure that we settle in the changes planned for 2011 and we will engage the public, local authorities and GPs in any further reviews or proposed changes longerterm.”
The chief executive also claimed that by ensuring various trauma specialists were concentrated in one place Pinderfields an extra 20 lives a year could be saved in the district.
Coun Khizar Iqbal (Ind, Dewsbury South) hit out at the loss of services and said: “Only a handful of people participated in the consultation ñ and it was carried out when Dewsbury was still expecting to get its new cancer and urology centre, which isn’t even happening now.
“I’ve objected and opposed this reconfiguration and transfer of services every step of the way and I believe they should be retained and enhanced in Dewsbury.”
Coun Paul Kane (Lab, Dewsbury East) voiced concerns about the new shuttle bus and also claimed that the consultation process had been “flawed”.†
“We had a bus years ago that ran between the three sites but it was never advertised and disappeared very quickly,” he said.
“We need assurances that the new shuttle bus is funded properly and has a longterm future.”

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