Jeremy Hunt to visit Dewsbury and Huddersfield hospitals

Dewsbury and District Hospital
Dewsbury and District Hospital

The health secretary has agreed to visit Dewsbury and Huddersfield to see how changes to hospital services will affect people.

Jeremy Hunt accepted an invitation first made a year ago from Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff during health questions in the House of Commons yesterday.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt

Labour MP Ms Sherriff has claimed safety is being compromised by a “downgrades” of services at Dewsbury and Huddersfield hospitals.

Since September, Dewsbury has had an urgent care centre and the most serious emergencies are taken to A&E at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield under changes at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

NHS bosses also want to knock down Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and replace the town’s 400-bed hospital with a 64-bed site. A bigger A&E at Calderdale Royal Hospital will serve both towns.

Speaking in parliament Ms Sherriff said: “I have repeatedly asked the secretary of state, and I ask him yet again, whether he will visit my area to see for himself the damaging impacts that the downgrades and closures of local hospital services in Dewsbury and Huddersfield will have on my constituents.”

In response Mr Hunt said more A&E patients were being seen within four hours of arriving at hospital and that staffing levels had improved.

He said: “I am very happy to accept the honourable lady’s invitation to visit her area, which I will do, but what I know I will see when I go there is that 8,300 more people are being treated within four hours at her local hospital, where there are 42 more doctors and 56 more nurses than in 2010.”

Last month Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust was given a “requires improvement” rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which found staff shortages and overcrowding were a risk to safety.

Latest figures published by the trust also show that Mid Yorkshire had the equivalent of 195 vacancies for registered nurses at the end of August.