A DEAL has been signed to reopen Pontefract Hospital’s A&E department at night.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has signed a contract with Nestor Primecare to provide GP cover, together with specialist nurses at the unit from 10pm to 8am.
It follows the closure of the overnight service last November, due to staff shortages at middle-grade doctor level, which prompted an Express campaign to reinstate a 24-hour, consultant-led A&E service.
Stephen Eames, interim chief executive of the trust, said: “Consultants will remain on call and back the service up so it’s still consultant-led in that sense, and we are looking forward to working with Primecare.”
He added the trust was looking at reopening the unit at night from September 3, but details were still being finalised.
The 12-month contract will allow the trust to recruit full-time replacement staff, while it also develops its longer-term clinical strategy for hospital services.
Mr Eames also said the trust is now holding a formal one-month consultation to transfer cataract and glaucoma surgery to Pontefract by the end of September, and will be consulting on moving hip and knee surgery to the site by February or March, pending formal consultation.
He added: “It’s all part of providing a vibrant set of services at Pontefract.”
Yvette Cooper, Pontefract and Castleford MP, said: “It is good that the new management have listened to the thousands of people who joined the Pontefract and Castleford Express campaign and the 14,000 people who signed our petition to get overnight A&E restored.
“But the trouble is this is only temporary. And I am very worried that the trust’s future cuts plans could cause far more problems for local patients.
“I’m still pressing the trust to meet the other promises the old management broke to local people – bringing services back to Pontefract and stopping patients being sent to Dewsbury.
“Pontefract Hospital is still being left empty because services we were promised aren’t in place, while Pinderfields is overcrowded so patients are sent to Dewsbury, Doncaster or Leeds instead.
“It’s not fair on local people, and it’s a waste too.”