Concerns that NHS patients in the south-east of the Wakefield district are being forced to travel 12 miles into the city for vital treatment have been raised by the area’s MP.
Jon Trickett says that elderly and vulnerable people needing appointments will struggle to visit Wakefield, where a number of medical services have been recently relocated from the Hemsworth and South Elmsall area.
Patients needing hand surgery, gynaecology treatment, endoscopies and those needing to see a specialist about an ear, nose or throat problem are among those affected.
It comes after a number of private healthcare firms, who ran those services on behalf of the NHS, did not have their contracts renewed when they ended last year.
Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) brought the services back in-house after deciding that some providers weren’t able to meet toughened new standards on patient care.
But that move has affected patients who used to be treated by firms like Phoenix Health Solutions, who are based in South Elmsall but lost their NHS contract.
As a result, some now have to travel to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield for appointments.
Mr Trickett, who has written to health bosses about the issue, said: “The CCG’s decision to withdraw further contracts for local health services is bad news for local patients and health services across the district.
“The CCG must recognise the value that these local health services provide to local communities, and the wider health system, and I have strongly urged them to reconsider their decision.”
The CCG says that patients were often forced to travel extensively to other areas under the old system.
The CCG’s chief operating officer Pat Keane said: “When contracts for services come to an end it is right that we take the opportunity to review them to make sure that we continue to commission care that is safe, high quality, offers the best possible patient experience and meets latest national standards.
“We had a very helpful meeting with Jon Trickett in autumn. “However, as we explained, the services he referred to that are provided by the independent sector in the south east of the district are only based there because that is where the providers have their premises.”