Wakefield and Dewsbury hospitals are a few years ahead of Calderdale and Huddersfield in terms of cuts and closures. So let’s learn from their experiences.
In 2012, the North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body Chair, Dr David Kelly, said that:
“No decisions have been made yet, but we realise that doing nothing is not an option…there will have to be changes to make sure the local NHS can deliver the safe, effective services the people who live within the Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust area deserve.”
Since the 2013 consultation on the Wakefield and Dewsbury hospital cuts proposals (known as “Meeting the Challenge”), it has been hard for patients and the public to find out what is actually happening to Dewsbury District Hospital.
But last summer (2015), at North Kirklees NHS Clinical Commissioning Group’s (‘For longer, healthier, happier lives!’) ‘event’ in Batley, Dr David Kelly revealed that Dewsbury Hospital was not going to have a cardiology (heart) department as he had previously intimated, or the attendant emergency facilities. Instead, all heart patients will have to go to Pinderfields after all.
Until now, Dewsbury has had an Emergency Centre for surgical emergencies, and acute medicine. This is the mid tier of Emergency Department, as described by Matt Walsh, Chief Officer of Calderdale CCG, at the Calderdale & Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee meeting on 29/06/2015. He explained that the 3 classes of Emergency Department are:
- First, Specialist Centres like Pinderfields for burns, Leeds for trauma.
- Second, Emergency Centres for surgical emergencies, and acute medicine, like Dewsbury, until now.
- Third, Urgent Care Centres, for lower risk illnesses and accidents
Dewsbury’s new status for its Emergency Department is to be an Urgent Care Centre. There will be no High Dependency Unit (HDU) or Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
A North Kirklees Support the NHS campaigner said:
“Dr David Kelly and the Clinical Commissioning Group should be honest with patients and say ‘urgent care centre’. But part of their remit is to push through the cuts agenda, dressed up as improvement.
Downgrading DDH to a planned care hospital with an urgent care centre will ideally situate it for takeover by a private provider. In the US, where health care is dominated by private health companies, the third most likely cause of death after heart attack and cancer is ‘preventable medical error‘.
If Jeremy Hunt really cared about unnecessary deaths, he would not cut NHS funding , training staff or close 10% of A&E departments in England since 2010.
We do not have to accept this for the future!”