HEALTH bosses have announced a ‘radical’ shake-up of hospital services which could see emergency and complex care centralised into one site.
Stephen Eames, interim chief executive of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said the scheme would see the trust’s other two hospitals concentrating on elective and diagnostic services, while creating a “centre of excellence for acute and complex care” – assumed to be at Pinderfields.
He said: “We’re at the very early stages. There were some proposals made towards the end of last year, but since then the landscape has changed quite significantly.
“We’re looking to more radical scenarios than those that were on the table before.”
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust met around 120 trust staff, clinicians, scrutiny committees, local government and patient group representatives at the National Coalmining Museum on Friday to discuss its future strategy.
The trust – which runs Pontefract, Pinderfields and Dewsbury hospitals – is facing a £26m deficit by next March and on top of that is required by the government to save £24m in this financial year, and save at least £80m by 2015.
Mr Eames said: “The major driver here is creating sustainable services that means we can continue to provide high quality services for patients. However, we have to be sure that whatever we do is affordable, but it would be wrong to say that’s the main driver.”
He added that the proposed changes would not necessarily mean the closure of A&E at Pontefract and Dewsbury, saying: “How we organise emergency and supporting services doesn’t mean we won’t provide emergency care at other locations. It might be changing the nature of emergency services, not withdrawing them.”
The proposals could also see inpatient women and children’s services and inpatient acute surgery consolidated on one site, as a “minimum level of change”.
Mr Eames said the overhaul of services would take place in conjunction with clinical commissioning groups – which will replace primary care trusts next year.
Mike Potts, chief executive of commissioner NHS Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield District, said: “We know that we can look at how to reorganise services to keep poele out of hospital when they don’t need to be there and clinical commissioning groups will be instrumental in working with the hospital in the future to look at how services might be organised.”
Mr Eames added: “We want to be up front as we can and spend the rest of the calendar year working on options in detail and working with the community in and pre-consultation as a first step in the process.”
The trust aims to start a formal three-month consultation in January.
However, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper reacted angrily to the proposals. She said: “This is appalling. Mid Yorkshire Trust is considering closing Pontefract A&E and other vital services because of the scale of the cuts it is being forced to make.
“Only six weeks ago the trust promised us that Pontefract A&E would reopen at night. Now those promises are being ripped up because of the scale of the cuts.”