HEALTH chiefs insist Dewsbury District hospital will not close – despite the downgrading of some services.
Campaigner Khizar Iqbal last week said cuts to A&E, maternity and children’s units are the “beginning of the end” for the Staincliffe site.
But the former Kirklees councillor’s claims were rejected by Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Stephen Eames.
He said: “The recent consultation sets out clearly that Dewsbury District Hospital has a crucial role in the future.
“The hospital will provide a wide range of services and will offer more surgical specialities than it does currently.”
“There are no plans to close Dewsbury District Hospital. Overall, we expect 6,000 more people will be treated there every year.”
He also hit back at the desire of some to see Mid-Yorkshire broken up and Dewsbury paired with Calderdale and Huddersfield.
Kirklees Tory and Lib Dem leaders Coun Robert Light (Birstall and Birkenshaw) and Coun Kath Pinnock (Cleckheaton) are among those in favour.
Mr Eames said: “There is no substance to the suggestion that Dewsbury could be paired with Calderdale and Huddersfield.
“We have just consulted on a configuration of services where Dewsbury plays a key role. No other alternative is under discussion.”
Coun Light also suggested some in his ward and around Spen Valley might go to Bradford or Halifax in the absence of A&E at Dewsbury.
Stephen Eames, confirmed this week as Mid-Yorkshire’s permanent chief executive, said moves are under way to deal with that possibility.
He said: “Our plans have taken account of the fact that ambulance services will transfer people to the nearest suitable hospital.
“For people who are picked up by ambulance in some parts of North Kirklees, this may not be Pinderfields.
“We are working with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service and with neighbouring hospitals to calculate the possible impact of this.”
Health boss - ‘Cuts are clinically safe’
CUTS to Dewsbury District Hospital are clinically safe, boss Stephen Eames claimed as the battle against service changes hots up.
Mr Eames said the proposed downgrading of A&E, maternity and children’s services was approved by the National Clinical Advisory Team.
The Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive also revealed that councillors have given them a draft of their response.
Members of the joint Kirklees and Wakefield Council health scrutiny panel could refer the decision to health secretery Jeremy Hunt.
Protesters might then go for a judicial review at the High Court in London, which could cost £60,000, if Mr Hunt approves the plan.
Mr Eames said: “The National Clinical Advisory Team has confirmed the proposals are clinically safe.
“The scrutiny committee have provided their draft response and we have agreed a timeframe with them within which we will respond.”
Dewsbury will gain surgical specialisms and Mr Eames added: “The types of planned surgery that people can have will increase under these proposals.
“Some people who have more complex conditions will need to have their operation at a hospital where there is intensive or high dependency care. If they choose Pinderfields, they will still be able to have all of their out-patient appointments before and after surgery at Dewsbury.
“We expect that this will mean people from North Kirklees are likely to continue to choose Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals.”