MPs Paula Sherriff and Jo Cox met with Health Minister Ben Gummer last night to raise concerns about plans to downgrade Dewsbury & District Hospital.
Reconfiguration plans by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust would see services centralised at Pinderfields and include the downgrade of Dewsbury’s A&E, which would cease to be consultant-led.
The meeting at the Department of Health was secured by the Labour MPs after news emerged that the Trust wanted to bring its plans forward by 12 months.
Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff, a former health worker and member of the Health select committee, said:
“This is the first time any Health minister has met local MPs to discuss the planned downgrade of Dewsbury & District Hospital and it was a very productive and positive meeting.
“The minister listened to all the concerns Jo and I raised. He has promised to convene a further meeting with us and the leaders of the Trust so that he can visit and assess for himself what is happening with this reconfiguration and ensure there is no adverse impact on our constituents.”
Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox, who was born at the hospital at Staincliffe, said:
“Paula and I know how much this issue worries and upsets everyone who relies on our hospital. This meeting gave us the chance to raise our concerns about many aspects of the reconfiguration and downgrade – including the way it is being rolled out and serious concerns about a vacuum of leadership.
“If the downgrade fails we want assurances from the minister that he will step in and this meeting suggests we have taken the first steps towards achieving that.”
Miss Sherriff and Mrs Cox raised concerns about:
- The roll out of the reconfiguration and Closer to Home agenda, the implications of the downgrade and the accelerated process.
- Losing the CCG chief executive to retirement at the same time as the Trust chief exec goes part time to split his time with a Trust in Cumbria.
- Lack of regional planning and joined up thinking, and the potential knock on effect from the proposed closure of the A&E at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
- The risk of further, future reconfiguration
- Communication with the public and patients about the impact of the changes, including the need for tailored, interactive workshops in individual neighbourhoods.
- Transport, including the challenges Yorkshire Ambulance Service face.