A proposal to carry out a controversial centralisation of hospital services six months earlier than planned has sparked a backlash in parliament.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust wants to speed up its shake-up of services after being warned by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over staffing levels.
The treatment of critically-ill A&E patients could be centralised at Pinderfields Hospital in September, instead of Spring 2017. Dewsbury’s A&E will become an urgent care centre treating minor ailments.
MPs Paula Sherriff and Jo Cox both appealed to health secretary Jeremy Hunt over fears that the move is motivated by cuts to the NHS budget.
It was Mr Hunt who approved Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust’s “Meeting the Challenge” plan in 2014.
He deemed the changes to be safe despite fears that transferring critical A&E care and other services to Wakefield would compromise safety leaving patients with too far to travel.
Now Mr Hunt faces renewed calls to intervene from the MPs over fears the changes will happen earlier than was agreed with him.
Ms Cox, the Batley and Spen MP, said: “There is great concern and nervousness about the downgrade at this time and the confidence that this will work is low.
“If this does not work I want the Health Secretary to pledge to step in and order the downgrade of our hospital to be reversed.”
Speaking in parliament, Ms Sherriff said: “Dewsbury hospital will be significantly downgraded before infrastructure is in place to ensure that patients still receive vital care safely.”
Ben Gummer, parliamentary under-secretary for health, agreed to meet her.
Ms Sherriff also wrote to Mid Yorkshire chief executive Stephen Eames. She told Mr Eames: “I need to be totally convinced that all aspects of safety around the proposals have been thoroughly researched and I ask that the findings of all such research are shared with me at the earliest opportunity.”
Plans to bring forward the A&E centralisation follow criticism from the CQC over staffing levels and hygiene at Mid Yorkshire.
The trust was rated “inadequate” for safety by the CQC in a report last month.
It has also emerged that Mid Yorkshire faces a financial deficit of £21.3m - £6.5m higher than planned - this financial yea