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 Hudderfield 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.
The following article appeared in today’s edition of the The Press newspaper.
AN MP has accused health secretary Jeremy Hunt of “endorsing” the dismantling of the NHS.
Jo Cox (Lab, Batley and Spen) hit out over proposals revealed this week to close the A&E department at Huddersfield Infirmary.
This would leave the whole of Kirklees without a full A&E, given plans to cut services at Dewsbury District Hospital.
Mrs Cox questioned the impact the Huddersfield scheme will have here and elsewhere.
She said: “There are only so many times you can demand the health secretary stop these sorts of plans and intervene in the interests of public safety.
“So far he hasn’t listened once and instead has endorsed this dismantling of our NHS.
“There are some serious questions to be answered: Where is the NHS in Kirklees heading, who is co-ordinating this constant chipping away at our health service and what is their vision of our NHS in five or 10 or 20 years’ time?
“Dewsbury’s A&E is to be downgraded and now there’s a plan to close Huddersfield’s A&E – where will people go?
“What will be the impact on neighbouring A&E departments?
“And what will be the consequences for those who need to access emergency medical help?
“The view that I, health professionals and many of my constituents have is that no-one can answer these questions.
“There is no long-term plan and we will all end up making do with whatever bones of our NHS remains.”
Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox has paid tribute to our junior doctors and urged the Government to urgently resolve the dispute that has led to today’s industrial action.
Junior doctors have been provoked into strike action for the first time in 40 years by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as he attempts to impose new contracts.
Mrs Cox said: “Everyone accepts and recognises and is grateful for the work and long hours that are done by our doctors and all NHS staff.
“The way David Cameron and his Government have treated our junior doctors is not only a disrespectful attack on these committed, hard working and vital public servants but on the whole of our NHS.
“No one makes a decision to take industrial action lightly, least of all anyone who performs this kind of life and death role, which means the provocation must be significant. The Government should be treating junior doctors far better and must urgently get back round the negotiating table and bring this dispute to an end.”
A demonstration, organised by the GMB and Batley & Spen Labour party, took place at Dewsbury & District Hospital this morning in support of junior doctors. DDH is located in Batley & Spen.
Jo Cox has reacted to the news that Stephen Eames, the Chief Executive of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, is to take up a new role in Cumbria for three days a week.
The Batley & Spen MP, whose constituency includes Dewsbury & District Hospital, said: “The figures released just last week about the performance of Mid Yorkshire do not tell the story of a Trust which can afford to lose its chief executive for 60 per cent of the week.
“The Trust needs more attention, not less. If clinical staff are working around the clock to sort out the mess the government has pushed them into, then the same should be true of management.
“In our regular meetings this has never been mentioned. I have spoken again to Mr Eames this week and scheduled an urgent meeting with him.”
NHS England revealed earlier this week that Mid Yorkshire has consistently missed its NHS target to ensure that 95 per cent of its A&E patients are seen within four hours. Between Nov 2014 and October 2015 it achieved between 93 per cent and 82.7 per cent.
The trust’s performance hit a low of 82.7 per cent in October this year, which put Mid Yorks as the 8th worst performing in England.
Labour MP Jo Cox has asked the Health Secretary to step in and reverse the downgrade of Dewsbury and District Hospital’s accident and emergency department if the new system does not work.
The hospital is located in Mrs Cox’s Batley & Spen constituency. She said:
“Mid Yorkshire Trust plans to bring forward the downgrade of Dewsbury and District Hospital’s A&E after yet more criticism from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).”
“The response to this criticism, about poor staffing and hygiene levels, is to bring forward plans to downgrade Dewsbury and centralise services at Pinderfields 12 months earlier than planned.
“This is less than a year since we learned that Dewsbury had been carrying the burden when Pinderfields A&E couldn’t cope or was closed to ambulances dealing with 999 calls.
“There is great concern and nervousness about the downgrade at this time and the confidence that this will work is low.
“If this does not work I want the Health Secretary to pledge to step in and order the downgrade of our hospital to be reversed.”
Mrs Cox sought to raise the issue with the Health Secretary in Parliament this afternoon. She has written to him to ask for this pledge and to meet to discuss the Trust’s plans.
Mrs Cox added: “The decision to downgrade our hospital was made when the Conservative Health Secretary approved the Trust’s plan in 2014.
“There must be safeguards in place to make sure local people are not put at risk or receive far less of a service than they need and I hope the Health Secretary will accept that and pledge to monitor this situation closely.”