ALREADY there have been answers to the question “What on earth is going on?” posed on the front page of last week’s Express.
Julia Squire, the chief executive of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has left for a post with the NHS Foundation and her successor, Stephen Eames, chief executive of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, has been appointed, taking over in March.
Other changes could also occur should the call by the leader of Wakefield Council be heeded for the chairman and board members of the trust to resign.
Regardless of whether or not a clean slate emerges, answers to the two fundamental questions remain to be given: when will a 24-hour service for Pontefract Hospital’s A&E department be restored and when (and how) will the trust’s huge financial deficit be extinguished?
The new chief executive should be in no doubt that clear water separates the two questions, the first requiring immediate attention.
Residents of all the areas served by Pontefract Hospital will not tolerate the now three-month long overnight closure of the A&E department becoming a norm (thereby coincidentally and conveniently for the trust, becoming an element in the drive to make savings) and they demand an early return to the status quo before November 1.
That can be pursued more vigorously than appears to have been done and without waiting for Mr Eames to arrive, by purposefully selling what the trust, with two brand new hospitals and the glories of Yorkshire, has rewardingly to offer.
Doctors specialising in emergency medicine, now stated by the Department of Health to be rising in numbers and not in short supply as claimed persistently by the trust, should be courted and won over.