MPs call for action

OUTRAGED MPs are calling on the government to step in to reopen Pontefract Hospital’s accident and emergency department at night.

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper and Featherstone MP Jon Trickett met health minister Simon Burns and regional bosses at the Strategic Health Authority in Leeds to demand action to reinstate the Friarwood Lane unit, which is currently closed between 10pm and 8am because of a “staff shortage”.

The MPs told health officials how angry residents confronted bosses at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust about the decision to shut the facility at a public meeting last month – and asked them to send in help to reverse the closure.

Ms Cooper said: “People feel really betrayed by the broken promises from the trust, but now we need action to get A&E reopened at night as fast as possible.

“The trust management have failed to solve the problem, and we still haven’t seen a new action plan from them after the Pontefract public meeting.

“That’s why the government and regional health bosses need to step in and bring in outside help to get A&E reopened.

“We’ve made very clear to health ministers that they can’t turn a blind eye to this and they need to do their bit to help reopen A&E.”

Mr Trickett added: “The people of our area deserve the best hospital service available.

“Following the public meeting in Pontefract Town Hall. we have continued in our long standing campaign to sustain the 24/7 A&E service which we were promised. 

“The truth is that the local hospital trust has allowed a situation to arise which is unacceptable and we demand the reopening of A&E overnight.

“Our meetings with the minister and also the regional health officials left them in no doubt whatsoever that the situation must be restored.”

The MPs will meet the trust’s board this week to ask if it has formed an “action plan” to reopen the unit since the public meeting. The board voted in favour of the “urgent temporary closure” in October – but said it would take steps to recruit more doctors and reopen the unit as soon as possible.

The trust said the decision was made so it could staff its three A&E departments safely.