A LEADING Labour politician joined the district’s two MPs in their fight against the loss of services at Dewsbury Hospital yesterday (Thurs).
Shadow Secretary of State for Health Jonathan Ashworth visited the hospital with Batley & Spen MP Tracy Brabin and Dewsbury & Mirfield MP Paula Sherriff.
Changes are planned for the accident and emergency department at Dewsbury, with urgent emergency care focused at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which manages the hospital, say this will enable patients to receive more specialised care. In Parliament, Ms Brabin and Miss Sherriff have argued with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt against the changes and have made several pleas for him to visit the hospital.
Mr Ashworth said it was vital to continue campaigning against the planned changes for Dewsbury and paid tribute to the staff working there.
“It has been great visiting because they have both been raising the issue about the hospital in the House of Commons and with Jeremy Hunt,” he said.
“I’m always so impressed with the staff who work in our NHS, always going the extra mile.
“It is so brilliant, so I want to say thank you for everything they do in the NHS, especially in the middle of a winter crisis like we are in. The people who work in the NHS are the very best.
“I was very struck by the points Tracy and Paula were making with the NHS management here how there is a demand for the services in this area and the concerns that if the reconfiguration goes ahead people will have to travel much further.
“I know these types of changes are taking place all over the country and when local people realise what is going on they get very angry.
“I know this is something Tracy and Paula will continue to raise in Parliament in the weeks and months ahead. They’ve got to listen.
“In Paula and Tracy you have two MPs who are fighting for their areas and ministers can’t dismiss their concerns because they are speaking on behalf of people they represent.
“Everyone can see how passionate they are about the health service and they have my full support.”
Miss Sherriff said she hoped the visit would inspire the Health Secretary to visit the hospital.
She said: “It was great to have Jonathan Ashworth here. I’ve asked Jeremy Hunt to come a number of times and also the PM and they have both refused.
“I think it is really important that they come and they hear from people working in the NHS and to see what is going on. I send a further a message to Jeremy Hunt – come see what is going on.”
Ms Brabin added: “It has been a really interesting and very positive visit.
“We sat around the table with a combined desire to change things for better because the statistics aren’t great.”