GPs share concerns

ASKING QUESTIONS: Dr David Kelly, chairman of North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group.
ASKING QUESTIONS: Dr David Kelly, chairman of North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group.

THE final decision on whether to approve service changes at Dewsbury and District Hospital lays in the hands of local GPs.

By the time the planned public consultation ends this summer, they will have taken over responsibility for commissioning most health services in our district.

Through North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and its Wakefield counterpart, they will decide if the proposals are in the best interest of the communities they serve.

North Kirklees CCG has said previously that it supports the idea of change.

It also backed last week’s decision to hold a public consultation on the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust’s preferred option.

But CCG chairman Dr David Kelly said it was some way off backing the current proposals.

“Overall we support the case of need for change,” he said. “We realise doing nothing is simply not an option. It’s not sustainable and radical changes are needed to get a quality, viable service – but not at any cost.

“We’ve got some concerns still that we’ve debated long and hard.”

Radical changes proposed at Dewsbury and District Hospital have caused concern among CCG members.

Dr Kelly told NHS Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield Cluster Board that CCG members wanted to be sure the vast majority of emergency care and assessment could still take place there.

He said: “We want to maintain a vibrant local service for our urgent care patients on our site, but we also want to maintain and improve out service for emergency patients in the community.”

Travelling time estimates from Dewsbury to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, which were used in the hospital’s outline case for change, were questioned.

Dr Kelly said: “Some of our patients will be further away and may choose to go elsewhere.

“We also have concerns about transport. I think some of that will be solved by the majority of outpatient and day case appointments being offered locally, but there are still some concerns about patients and visitors getting to Pinderfields.”

The CCG wants to make sure changes to maternity provision at Dewsbury are backed up by strengthened community midwifery services. It also has worries about the Trust’s finances, and external funding pledged for the £38m reshuffle of services.

These are just some of the concerns the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust will need to answer by the time it submits its full business case in July.

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