changes to hospital accident and emergency services have taken effect after three years of planning.
Care of the most seriously-ill A&E patients has been centralised at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
Dewsbury’s A&E department has been downgraded to an urgent care centre treating more minor ailments.
The plan raised safety fears over longer journey times to hospital.
But NHS bosses insisted the changes would improve safety by getting the most serious emergencies to specialist care more quickly at the beefed-up Pinderfields A&E.
Jules Preston, chairman of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, said: “By making these changes, we are creating services that are better able to meet local needs and future demand.
“We are looking to invest in our hospitals and are in the middle of working up multi-million pound plans to develop Dewsbury and District Hospital in the years ahead.”
Mid Yorkshire said its three hospitals were still offering urgent care and tests including x-rays, blood tests and scans.
The future of Pontefract Hospital’s emergency department is also under review as part of a further planned shake-up.
NHS bosses could cease 24-7 A&E provision at the hospital and downgrade it to an urgent care centre.
Currently, the A&E is staffed by Mid Yorkshire doctors and nurses between 8am and 10pm. Overnight it is staffed by GPs and specialist nurses.
The A&E costs £6.4m a year to run, of which £3m is spent on the overnight service.
Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which controls the local health budget, said the arrangement could be changed to make better use of resources.
The current contract to run the service ends next March and any changes would be in place by April.