Patients are ‘benefiting’

Stephen Eames.
Stephen Eames.

HEALTH chiefs claim a project to provide more services at Pontefract Hospital is benefiting patients across the area – but its A&E unit remains closed at night.

Bosses at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust say work to improve the way state-of-the-art facilities are used has seen an increase in the number of patients attending fracture clinics and more operations carried out in the hospital’s theatres.

The hospital’s emergency department has been shut every night between 10pm and 8am since last November because of a “staff shortage” but trust bosses say they hope to have a timeline for reopening the facility in place by the end of April.

Stephen Eames, trust interim chief executive, said: “As a result of the work we have been doing we have seen more patients using the hospital and improved access to some services for local residents. These are important developments, which we plan to build on in order to ensure Pontefract remains a vibrant, busy hospital at the centre of its community.”

There are four operating theatres at the hospital that carry out day surgery and surgery requiring only a short hospital stay.

Operating lists have grown during January, with theatres seeing more than 500 patients – compared with around 420 at the end of 2011.

The surgery carried out includes planned procedures for gynaecology, urology, general surgery, orthopaedics and ophthalmic surgery.

Hospital bosses say fracture clinics are also much busier with more residents accessing services at the hospital and filling around 84 per cent of appointment slots for all new patients compared with around 20 per cent at the end of 2011.

A spokeswoman said: “There is a plan to increase the number of fracture clinics at Pontefract in line with the increased utilisation of the clinics.

“Recent months have also seen an increase in the numbers of general clinics being done at Pontefract across various specialities.”

The trust is expected to launch a consultation period over plans to downgrade the A&E to a minor injuries and illness centre later this year.