MP hits out at trust

10th November 2011' MP Yvette Cooper'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
10th November 2011' MP Yvette Cooper'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE

MP Yvette Cooper is calling on Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust to stop sending Pontefract patients to Dewsbury for treatment.

The Pontefract and Castleford MP has criticised the trust – which runs Pontefract, Pinderfields and Dewsbury hospitals – after new figures showed the number of people from the Pontefract area being admitted to Dewsbury Hospital for emergency treatment over the last year has tripled.

In 2011, 1,505 patients from Pontefract received emergency treatment at Dewsbury, compared to 488 the previous year, with 30 patients a week being send from Pontefract to Dewsbury for A&E or other emergency treatment.

In addition the number of patients being sent to Dewsbury for routine operations and treatment has gone up by 20 per cent, and the number being sent there for outpatient appointments has gone up by 11 per cent.

Ms Cooper said: “This is deeply unfair on local patients and breaks the clear promise we were made that Pontefract patients would not be sent to Dewsbury.

“Sending 30 emergency patients a week from this area to Dewsbury is just shocking. We warned of the consequences of Pinderfields being too full while Pontefract is left empty, and our A&E is closed at night. Relatives face a real nightmare travelling all the way to Dewsbury too. This needs to be sorted out fast.

“The new management has promised us overnight A&E will reopen in September, but that’s not enough. We need patients and services urgently brought back from Dewsbury too.”

Stephen Eames, interim trust chief executive, said: “Last year a high number of patients were admitted to our hospitals requiring the highest level of emergency care. We used our available capacity across our sites to manage this in the safest and most effective way.

“We try to ensure emergency patients are taken to the nearest appropriate hospital for treatment, but during exceptionally busy times, this isn’t always possible.”

Mr Eames added plans were underway to move more services to Pontefract, with public meetings last week to consult on the proposed transfer of routine orthopaedics and opthamology services from Wakefield to Pontefract.

He said: “This would mean thousands of patients being seen in Pontefract every year, rather than travelling to Wakefield or Dewsbury.

“We are also proposing more changes, which we plan to consult on early next year. These changes would concentrate routine care such as outpatient appointments, day case and short stay surgery in Pontefract.

“Patients tell us they want to be treated as close to home as possible and through talking to people it is clear that we need to look beyond hospitals and do things differently in GP practices and in community care.

“The service changes we are currently proposing are designed to make Pontefract a busy, vibrant hospital that delivers excellent quality services that are sustainable for the longer term.”