AN MP has accused health secretary Jeremy Hunt of “endorsing” the dismantling of the NHS.
Jo Cox (Lab, Batley and Spen) hit out over proposals revealed this week to close the A&E department at Huddersfield Infirmary.
This would leave the whole of Kirklees without a full A&E, given plans to cut services at Dewsbury District Hospital.
Mrs Cox questioned the impact the Huddersfield scheme will have here and elsewhere.
She said: “There are only so many times you can demand the health secretary stop these sorts of plans and intervene in the interests of public safety.
“So far he hasn’t listened once and instead has endorsed this dismantling of our NHS.
“There are some serious questions to be answered: Where is the NHS in Kirklees heading, who is co-ordinating this constant chipping away at our health service and what is their vision of our NHS in five or 10 or 20 years’ time?
“Dewsbury’s A&E is to be downgraded and now there’s a plan to close Huddersfield’s A&E – where will people go?
“What will be the impact on neighbouring A&E departments?
“And what will be the consequences for those who need to access emergency medical help?
“The view that I, health professionals and many of my constituents have is that no-one can answer these questions.
“There is no long-term plan and we will all end up making do with whatever bones of our NHS remains.”
MP brands A & E plans ‘dangerous’
PLANS to shut a hospital A&E department were branded “dangerous” by MP Paula Sherriff this week.
Her Dewsbury and Mirfield seat includes Kirkburton and Denby Dale, which would be affected by proposals for Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Ms Sherriff will take up the matter with the North Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield clinical commissioning groups.
She said: “The Dewsbury constituency lies between Dewsbury Hospital and Huddersfield Infirmary and it is imperative everyone can access full healthcare.
“I will use every route possible to put a stop to these ill-thought-out and, quite frankly, dangerous plans.”
She added: “I am shocked and appalled at the proposals to close the A&E department at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
“This, along with the proposal to downgrade the A&E department at Dewsbury and District Hospital, will leave the population of Kirklees without full emergency care facilities and that is simply unacceptable.”
Hospital fight goes to London
CAMPAIGNERS trying to save Dewsbury District Hospital from cuts took their fight to London last Thursday.
The North Kirklees NHS Support Group and Dewsbury Keep Our NHS Public met shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander.
The two groups were among 20 from across the country who held talks with the Labour MP.
Cuts to A&E and maternity at Dewsbury and the impact of a private finance deal for new hospitals at Pinderfields and Pontefract were raised.
Splits in commissioning – where, for example, sexual health services are from both local councils and the NHS – were also discussed.
The groups put Ms Alexander on the spot about where Labour stands on these and issues such as the use of private contractors.
She was reported to have said the shadow health team is in talks with the party’s leadership about a new NHS Reinstatement Bill.
A version appeared last July as a private members’ bill sponsored by 12 MPs, including future Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
It stated the NHS should be publicly owned, funded and run, comprehensive, universal and free at the point of need.
Christine Hyde represented the North Kirklees NHS Support Group at last Thursday’s meeting.
Patricia Foley, for Dewsbury Keep Our NHS Public, said: “This downgrade to Dewsbury District Hospital doesn’t stand up clinically.
“And socially it’s a disaster – how can a higher volume of services centralised in one place improve health outcomes?”