THE district’s two Labour MPs have hit out at Health Minister Philip Dunne after patients were seen lying on the floor in hospital corridors.
Batley & Spen MP Tracy Brabin published photos last week which showed patients at Pinderfields Hospital sleeping on the floor due to what she claimed was overcrowding. It also emerged that tens of thousands of non-urgent NHS operations and procedures in England could be delayed until after January 31 because of an increase in the number of patients going to A&E departments.
During urgent questions in the House of Commons on Monday regarding the state of the NHS, Ms Brabin said: “Can I press the Minister a little bit further about the photographs taken by my constituents of people sleeping on the floor?
“These were poorly people in chairs waiting for hours, not being given a bed or a trolley. What I didn’t hear was an apology. It’s now time for the Minister to apologise to those affected.”
Mr Dunne replied: “I absolutely am prepared to apologise to those patients who are not able to be treated as quickly as we would like them to.
“There are seats available in most hospitals where beds are not available and I can’t comment individually on what happened in her case but I agree that it is not acceptable.”
Mr Dunne has since quit his government post, as part of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Cabinet reshuffle.
Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff said: “Despite the best efforts of NHS staff, patients in my area were waiting routinely over 12 hours just to be seen at hospital, and we’ve heard from honourable friends about patients having to sleep on the floor.
“To that end, will he now take the opportunity today to say that he will halt all further downgrades and closures of services in my area at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Dewsbury Hospital until a full assessment of capacity is undertaken?” Figures released this week showed that the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Pinderfields and Dewsbury hospitals, treats 82.8 per cent of patients in A&E within four hours; it should be hitting a target of 95 per cent. It is also down on giving planned operations and care, treating 84.1 per cent of patients within 18 weeks. The target is 95 per cent.
In response to the publication of the Pinderfields photos, hospital bosses said that patients must have chosen to lie on the floor rather than sitting on chairs.
David Melia, director of nursing and quality at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The Trust has received no complaints regarding the care of the two patients identified in the photographs, who may have chosen to lie down as seats were provided.”