Health Minister to review controversial hospital cuts

Health Minister to review controversial hospital cuts

CONTROVERSIAL cuts to Dewsbury District Hospital services were referred to the Government on Wednesday.

The decision was made by the joint Kirklees-Wakefield health scrutiny panel of councillors from both authorities.

An independent review of the plans, which would see Dewsbury lose its A&E department, will be carried out by Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt.

Dewsbury’s A&E could be replaced by a minor injuries unit while maternity services would also be downgraded.

Serious emergencies and high-risk births would be dealt with at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

Intensive and high dependency care would also go there, though Dewsbury would gain new surgical specialisms.

Councillors, who last month deferred their decision to consider new details on how the plans would work, fear Pinderfields will not cope with the changes.

The committee passed a resolution saying it is not confident the plans are in the best interests of the public.

Panel member Coun Liz Smaje (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw) said: “I have significant concerns about many aspects of what has been put forward.”

Bosses at the Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust claim the plans will save £10m a year in running costs.

Councillors claimed that would still leave a £4.6m annual hole in the trust’s budget, which health chiefs denied.

They told the meeting they have a financial plan in place that would deliver a budget surplus of that figure by 2017.

Committee chairman Coun Betty Rhodes said: “There still remains sufficient doubt to provide the necessary assurance and confidence that the proposals are in the best interests of the local population.

“As a result the committee has agreed to seek an independent assessment and review of the proposals through a referral to the Secretary of State for Health.”

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