I’m pleased to report that plans to improve hospital and community services across North Kirklees are progressing. The changes will take place over the next three years and include a £20 million investment at Dewsbury and District Hospital as well as new services to ensure care is available at or closer to home.
These changes will deliver better outcomes for patients, improve experiences and ensure we can continue to provide services over the long term. In North Kirklees, we have already started to develop care closer to home. For example, community nursing staff are now in place at the Emergency Department (ED) in Dewsbury and District Hospital, working with ED staff and the Hospital Avoidance Team to support admission avoidance, discharge and provide care following an attendance, if needed. Social care assessment is also available seven days a week to support discharge from hospital and intermediate care.
The number of specialist community nurses has been increased and cover extended to 16 hours each day, seven days a week. This includes more heart failure and respiratory nurses. Specialist palliative care has also been increased to ensure seven-day access to beds and a 24-hour helpline. From October 2014, a new community-based dermatology service for children and adults will be available.
The next phase of development at Dewsbury and District Hospital will be the opening of a new children’s assessment centre later this year, to increase the numbers of young people who can be treated without being admitted overnight. Over 80% of the children who would otherwise have been admitted to the paediatric ward at Dewsbury will be seen in the new assessment unit, with any necessary in-patient care provided at Pinderfields Hospital. These changes are in line with recommendations from the Royal College of Paediatricians and received support from the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee.