‘Hands’ off our hospital protest

‘Hands’ off our hospital protest

PROTESTERS held at a vigil at Dewsbury District Hospital last Thursday as cuts loom closer.

The Hands Round the Hospital event was organised by campaign groups 38 Degrees and Dewsbury Keep Our NHS Public (KONP).

They hope it drew attention to hospital services and buildings that are soon to change.

The Staincliffe wing and Bronte Tower are set to be demolished in a £22m revamp led by contractor the Keir Group. Rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of the 50 or so activists who gathered near those buildings.

Patricia Foley, of Dewsbury KONP, said: “It was good to see such a wide range of people – we got lots of passing support from cars and pedestrians. What amazes me is that people still don’t know about what is happening at the hospital.

“It’s only through holding events like this that you realise most people still don’t seem to know what’s going on – how can this be?”

Beds will go in a ‘centralisation’ of care for the most critically-ill at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield while A&E will become a minor injuries unit – which health chiefs insist will still see most patients currently treated there.

On April 16 women at the Al-Hikmah Centre in Batley gained insight into the new midwife-led birthing unit.

They were said to have been told by officials there would be no epidural pain relief available.

Due to open in September off Healds Road, Dewsbury, the six beds at the unit are for low-risk births. North Kirklees has among the worst rates of infant mortality and neo-natal health problems in the country.

Factors include the number of women who smoke in pregnancy and issues which affect Asian women.

Ms Foley added: “By the end of the year, we will have no Grade 1 A&E and no consultant-led maternity services in North Kirklees – despite there being a need for both.

“And the hospital will be losing some of its most iconic buildings, not to mention the services housed within them.”

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