A NEW accident and emergency department at the new £60m Pontefract Hospital opened its doors for the first time on Saturday.
The consultant-led unit, which expects to see more than 150 patients a day, is one of the last services to be transferred to the new state-of-the-art building before it fully opens next Monday.
The facility will be supported and complemented by a clinical decision unit for patients who need observation, investigation and treatment for a period of up to 24 hours. Patients who need to be in hospital for longer will be cared for at the new £240m Wakefield’s Pinderfields Hospital or Dewsbury and District Hospital – but health chiefs have pledged that nine of ten people previously treated at Pontefract will continue to receive their care at the site.
Julia Squire, chief executive of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “Patients are benefiting from new and improved facilities to offer the best possible care in the best possible environment.
“They are not only benefiting from state-of-the-art modern facilities but have faster access to their care and treatment because the new building has been designed to accommodate the latest technology and innovations in healthcare.
“Local people have been waiting for these much-needed new hospitals for many years and it’s exciting that in just over a week’s time, they will be fully open.”
The new emergency department also includes an assessment service that children can be referred to, which is open from 9am to 9pm from Monday to Friday.
At all other times, children should be taken straight to the children’s emergency department at Pinderfields.
Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper and Featherstone MP Jon Trickett, who have campaigned to keep an A&E department at the Friarwood Road hospital, said the trust must keep its promises about care for Five Towns’ patients.
They are calling on the trust to retain some of the old Pontefract General Infirmary buildings to support a growing population and keep services in the town.
Ms Cooper said: “These state-of-the-art facilities are extremely important, but the trust must also keep its promises about local care.
“These changes and the first phase of cuts, are putting a lot of pressure on the hospital.
“It’s vital the trust keeps open some of the existing buildings as we have argued for years to make sure there are enough beds and services for local people.” Mr Trickett added: “It is really important the new hospitals don’t become the cover for NHS budget cuts.
“We understand Mid Yorkshire is being put in a difficult position by government cuts but local people must receive the health services they were promised.”
The final facilities to open at the new hospital include the remainder of the radiology department and the pharmacy.
Visit www.midyorks.nhs.uk for more information.