Verdict delayed – councillors to consider fresh DDH detail

COUNCILLORS have delayed their verdict on Dewsbury District Hospital’s downgrading to consider new details.

The joint health scrutiny committee of Kirklees and Wakefield councils met on Monday to review plans from the Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

They adjourned for two weeks after the trust gave new information showing how their £38m reorganisation would work.

Under the plans, A&E at Dewsbury would be reduced to a minor injuries unit. It would also lose consultant-led maternity care.

Services would be centralised at Pinderfields in Wakefield, though Dewsbury would gain several new surgical specialisms.

The scrutiny committee could refer the controversial shake-up to Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt.

Monday’s hearing saw councillors criticise the cost of the changes and travel times from North Kirklees to Pinderfields.

Coun Liz Smaje (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw) also challenged health chiefs over the impact of the maternity changes.

Health bosses insist cash-strapped Mid-Yorkshire faces a bleak future if the changes do not go ahead.

Trust chief executive Stephen Eames told the meeting: “Our financial survival is dependant on these changes.”

Phil Earnshaw, chairman of the Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We believe these changes will help Mid-Yorkshire have a positive future.”

Committee chairwoman Betty Rhodes, a Wakefield Labour councillor, said Mid-Yorkshire gave her panel fresh details last week.

Coun Rhodes added: “In light of the late information received we feel it is only fair to adjourn the meeting until October 9.”

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