Plan to cut A&E demand

A CASH-strapped hospitals trust is planning to cut the number of patients being treated in its emergency departments.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has set a target cut overall demand on A&E by eight per cent this year and see more patients treated at GP surgeries.

Mid Yorkshire, which runs Pontefract, Pinderfields and Dewsbury hospitals, said it would reduce the need for hospital beds by treating patients in other NHS facilities closer to home.

Stephen Eames, interim chief executive, said: “We plan to minimise demand on hospitals for those activities and procedures than can be done perfectly well in different settings.”

The plan emerged after a report by the trust, which is faced with £24m in budget cuts this year, said “significant bed reductions” were among plans to reorganise services and cut costs.

The report, which emerged last week, said plans to reorganise services at the trust had to be revised because of the trust’s financial challenge.

Mid Yorkshire could make up to 178 jobs redundant to save cash. It is forecasting a £26m budget deficit at the end of the current financial year.

To help tackle this, the report said there would be “less reliance on commitments given in the past” and “radical changes” which could lead to Mid Yorkshire linking up with other health service organisations.

Centres of excellence to treat specific patient needs could be developed at Dewsbury and Pontefract hospitals.

The measures could cut the length of time people needed to be treated in hospital, the report said.

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper said: “£30m is being taken out of our NHS locally over the next few years, but evidence round here shows we need more beds, not fewer to cope with rising demand.”

But Mr Eames said: “We are looking at ways in which we can provide care closer to home and make sure that when patients do need hospital care that they can receive this at their nearest appropriate hospital.

“We are also working with our partners to reduce delays so that our patients don’t stay in hospital any longer than they need to. These steps will reduce reliance on hospital beds.”

Mid Yorkshire said the proposals were going out to consultation and a decision had not yet been made.