Watchdog criticises reshuffle at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust

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Plans for a radical reorganisation of the district’s hospital services have been criticised by a council health watchdog.

The Wakefield and Kirklees joint health scrutiny committee could refer plans to centralise parts of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust to Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for health.

NHS bosses want to centralise accident and emergency treatment at Pinderfields Hospital, reduce hospital stays and cut the number of beds at Mid Yorkshire.

Dewsbury’s A&E department would be downgraded to an urgent care centre treating minor ailments as critically-ill and injured patients are transferred to Wakefield.

Dewsbury would also lose its consultant-led maternity unit as some births are also transferred to Pinderfields under the £38m scheme.

Hospital bosses will decide whether the press ahead with the proposals at a meeting on Thursday.

But at its meeting yesterday, the scrutiny committee finalised a report which raises a string of concerns over the scheme.

Committee members were not convinced about plans to treat more patients closer to home to cut the need for hospital beds.

Committee chairwoman Betty Rhodes told the meeting: “We are concerned that the proposals in relation to community based health care are not underpinned by any detailed plans and there is no evidence of resources being identified.”

She added: “On balance, the joint committee’s view is insufficient detail has been provided to support the proposals for care closer to home.”

The committee was also worried that some patients would have longer to travel for treatment, and that hospitals might struggle to treat rising numbers of patients turning up at A&E.

NHS bosses held a public consultation on the proposals which included sending information out to households in Wakefield and North Kirklees.

But also among concerns voiced by the committee were gaps in the consultation process, with some households not included.

Coun Rhodes said: “The committee’s view is they attempted to follow best practice, but in some parts of the district this didn’t happen and some members of the public didn’t have the opportunity to read the consultation material and respond to it.”

Wakefield Council said NHS bosses would have 28 days to respond to the committee’s report, which has not yet been made public. The committee would then decide whether to refer the matter to the secretary of state.

NHS Wakefield and NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) will meet from 12.30pm at Ossett Town Hall on Thursday to discuss the plans.