A CAMPAIGNER who fought against the night closures at Pontefract Hospital witnessed how difficult the changes are for patients as she was forced to travel miles out of the area for an emergency operation.
Michelle Collins, of Wrangbrook Road, Upton, woke with crippling pains in the early hours of last Monday morning and needed an emergency appendectomy. She was taken by ambulance to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, as her local hospital - the Friarwood Lane A&E department, was shut due to the temporary overnight closure.
Mrs Collins said: “I was really scared because I had never been there before, and it just seemed miles away from home. It was a different Trust so they didn’t have any of my medical records so I had to run through my previous medical history before I got any pain relief.
“It took nearly fours hours from arriving to actually being put onto a ward. They were brilliant with me but they can only work with what information they have.”
She said her husband only arrived after the operation as he had to get two buses to the hospital.
Mrs Collins, Labour candidate for South Elmsall, South Kirkby and Moorthorpe, had led a campaign with Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett to reverse the part-time closures at the hospital.
Health chiefs made the cut backs in November after experiencing “difficulties in the recruitment and retention” of the specialist doctors needed to safely run its three A&E departments in Pontefract, Wakefield and Dewsbury.
Professor Tim Hendra, medical director at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said patients are taken to the nearest hospital equipped to deal with the patients’ individual needs.
He said that within the Wakefield district, Pinderfields was the closest hospital, but that Doncaster Royal Infirmary was to closer to Upton than Pinderfields, and it was appropriate for her to receive treatment there.
He added: “The emergency surgery that Ms Collins required would not have been carried out at Pontefract Hospital even if the temporary overnight closure of the emergency department wasn’t in place.”