Investment aims to give hospital ‘life’

PLANNED CLOSURE The Bronte Tower
PLANNED CLOSURE The Bronte Tower
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The aim of the planned investment at Dewsbury and District Hospital is to give buildings and wards a life expectancy of 30 years.

But the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust said this week that some buildings would cost so much to keep going that it makes more sense to close them.

Staincliffe Wing, which dates back to the late Victorian period, is one of those buildings.

Estates and facilities director Kevin Oxley said: “The form of our buildings needs to follow the service configuration we need. This needs to be clinically-led, not estates-led, with the exception of Staincliffe. We could throw millions in and it would never be fit for purpose.”

The nearby nursery and children’s centre be part of land released in that corner of the site, but no final decision has been made.

Mr Oxley said: “It could be left as a standalone unit, but when we do the detailed planning we’ll consult with doctors and nurses. It will very much be what those users want.”

The Trust is keen to use the redesign to get the right teams working alongside each other.

Mr Oxley said “We’re finding we have many patients having to transfer from the Staincliffe side of the site to the Ridings.

“While there are internal corridors, they are very long. By co-locating something like cardio-respiratory unit next to diagnostic services we’ll be giving a much better experience to patients.”

The Ridings Building, built in the 1980s, would get a new main entrance in response to feedback from people who use the hospital.

It was designed originally with the intention that it be easy to add new wings, and would be extended as part of the planned £20m investment.

Money would also be spent on a £1.2m MRI scanner, upgrading operating theatres and new clinical equipment as well as upgrading IT, electrical and water systems.

If changes to A&E, maternity and children’s services are approved, changes will be made to the facilities for those services.

A remodelled A&E department would be planned out to include an initial assessment area where medical staff would make sure patients went through to the emergency teams, neighbouring emergency day care unit or GP-led services as appropriate.

A new paediatric assessment unit would serve children needing tests or observations without overnight stays, and a midwife-led birth centre would be set up to replace services currently in Brontë Tower.

Mr Oxley said: “We would end up with a six-storey building which we wouldn’t have a need for. Our running costs at Brontë are currently £1m a year, which we wouldn’t want to tie up in a building we had no use for. [Closing it} is more about it not becoming a white elephant.”

The Trust also plans to close the neighbouring Oakwell Centre and the Pickard and Pickersgill buildings, which were originally use as accommodation for nurses.