THE NHS Trust running Dewsbury & District Hospital was the worst-performing in the Yorkshire & Humber region for treating A&E patients in January.
The Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals Trust treated only 77.1 per cent of its 4,444 patients within four hours, although not a single Trust in Yorkshire hit the national target of 95 per cent.
The Mid-Yorkshire figure was a drop from the 81 per cent of 3,589 patients who were seen within four hours during January, 2016. The increased demand at Dewsbury Hospital during the festive period was well publicised – and local politicians have again demanded that any ‘downgrade’ plans should be shelved.
Health bosses are planning on re-focussing serious emergency care to Pinderfields Hospital, with the A&E department at Dewsbury downgraded to an urgent care unit.
Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin, whose seat includes Dewsbury Hospital, said: “These figures show a worrying decline in the service available to people in the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust area.
“That barely more than three quarters of patients in January were treated in under four hours is quite simply not good enough and shows things are getting worse rather than improving. It is troubling to see that the underlying factor is the huge increase in demand, with attendances up by almost a quarter in the last year alone.
“This points to deep problems in our health service – not enough GPs, not enough walk-in centres, a failure of the 111 system that was supposed to replace NHS Direct, and a crisis in social care.
“The staff there are giving all they have, and I pay tribute to them, but they’re being placed under completely unsustainable pressure. Under such circumstances, downgrading of emergency services in Dewsbury defies any kind of logic.
“When patients are literally queuing out of the door, downgrading a service that is already over capacity is the opposite of what is needed.”
The Press reported earlier this year how the A&E department at Dewsbury was pushed to its limits over Christmas, with reports of patients having to wait up to 11 hours to see a doctor.
One person claimed to have waited 20 hours before a bed was made available and another said they were denied a pillow as there were none spare.
Matt England, interim director of planning and partnerships, said: “We have embarked on an ambitious programme of improvement which has seen a positive benefit to patients and reduced waiting times in February and March.
“Additionally, the proposals for change to A&E services across the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust will improve patient flow and patient care.
“The plans set out changes to the way specialist and inpatient care is provided to ensure people are seen more quickly by a clinician with the right skills.”