Fury at PM's A&E Evasion

Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff has slammed Prime Minister Theresa May for her response in Parliament as she skirted a question about the downgrading of Dewsbury & District Hospital’s A&E services.

At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Ms Sherriff asked the PM to confirm that all services at Dewsbury Hospital and Huddersfield Royal Infirmary would remain open – including full A&E provision.

The Prime Minister answered: “The honourable lady knows that, yes, I was asked about Dewsbury A&E and I can confirm Dewsbury A&E is not closing.

“The service will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the majority of patients will see no change to their service.”

In a statement yesterday Labour MP Ms Sherriff said: “I was dismayed at Theresa May’s answer to my question in Wednesday’s PMQs.

“She omitted to mention the significant downgrade that Dewsbury and District Hospital’s A&E department is facing.

“Following the downgrade, all acute cases, including those who are seriously ill or injured, will be transferred to Pinderfields Hospital as there won’t be the facilities to treat them at Dewsbury’s A&E department.

“The PM also failed to mention Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and the fact that their A&E department is facing closure plans – these plans will leave the whole of Kirklees, some 420,000 people, without full A&E provision.”

Ms Sherriff took the matter further and posed another question in the Commons yesterday (Thursday) to the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom. She said: “Could the Prime Minister come to the House and either reassure local people that services are safe, or apologise for her scaremongering comments when we were just highlighting that services were under threat?”

On a recent visit to Thornhill Cricket Club during the election campaign, Mrs May accused her opponents of “scaremongering” over the threat of the A&E services being downgraded or closed.

Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust is planning to centralise A&E care for the most seriously ill patients at Pinderfields hospital in Wakefield, with Dewsbury Hospital’s A&E becoming an urgent care centre for treating minor ailments from this September.

There are also uncertain plans to completely rebuild Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, with the new building not having any A&E provision.

Ms Sherriff added: “Not only did the Prime Minister incorrectly accuse us of ‘scaremongering’, she has also gone further this time in covering up the significant downgrade plans at Dewsbury and District hospital and the impact that these will have on local people.”

Originally published in The Press, 29 June 2017