Tag Archives: Dewsbury District Hospital

NHS Changes

The Outline Business Case for the changes in where and how Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust provides services has been accepted by the local health community and a huge consultation exercise will soon begin.

I know this news will worry and anger some North Kirklees residents but I would ask everyone to consider some key points and then make their views heard through the consultation process.

Health services have changed dramatically in the past few years to put the emphasis on keeping people as healthy as they can be so they aren’t rushed to hospital in an emergency. Most of this is done through GP surgeries and many services that used to mean a trip to hospital (blood tests, blood pressure tests, clinics etc) are now available locally. We call this ‘care closer to home’.

So, if fewer people become ill because their condition is well managed, fewer people will need emergency treatment or to be in hospital. That means we need fewer hospital beds ‘just in case’.

The urgent care centre proposed for Dewsbury and District Hospital will be able to treat almost all the people who are taken or make their way there at the moment. The ‘full blown’ A&E proposed for Pinderfields Hospital would effectively be a major trauma centre, with the highly skilled staff and equipment to care for those with life threatening illness or injury.

Let’s not forget the role of the ambulance service. An ambulance is so much more than a taxi with a blue light on top – ambulance staff are highly skilled in life support and will stabilise patients while they’re on the way to the most appropriate specialist care centre. That could be the nearest emergency centre or somewhere further away. That already happens locally with people who have a stroke – they are taken to Pinderfields because that is where the specialist team is based.

People needing planned operations will have their operation where the specialist surgeons are, but will have post operative checks at clinics closer to home . This might be an inconvenience but because medical techniques have improved so much in the past few years, patients are well enough to go home much more quickly. For example, a hip replacement used to mean a ten day stay in hospital, now it’s three of four; people who had a heart attack could be in hospital for around 12 days, now they’re home in three days. There is no difference in the quality of treatment or the outcome, it’s just that treatments and techniques have improved.

Last but not least, the NHS does not have a limitless pot of money and we have to make best use of the cash that is available to spend. Hospitals are very expensive to run and they depend on lots of highly skilled people and some of those skills are in short supply nationally. We have to make the best use of what’s available.

If you read the first blog I wrote – In defence of GPs – you’ll see that I care passionately about the NHS and providing the best possible health care for the people of North Kirklees. NHS North Kirklees CCG voted to support the outline business case because we want to make sure high quality, accessible care continues to be available at Dewsbury District Hospital. Making that happens means we have to support changes across the Mid Yorkshire area and do things differently in the community – that’s our ambition as a new organisation.

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Filed under Chair's blog: Dr David Kelly

Reality bites

It’s been a busy few weeks – my role as Clinical Lead (and therefore Chair) of the NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group has been confirmed and I’ve experienced my first uncomfortable taste of ‘trial by media’.

The CCG stands accused of ‘stabbing local people in the back’ over the ongoing debate about Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust’s (MYHT) efforts to balance its budget and maintain local hospital services. NHS North Kirklees and NHS Wakefield CCGs are reported to be ‘supporting’ the Trust’s Option B proposals which could see Dewsbury and District Hospital’s A&E department changed to a more cost effective urgent care centre.

So, to try to set the record straight:

No decisions have been made yet, but we realise that doing nothing is not an option. If we don’t support the Trust in its attempts to balance the books and deliver clinically safe services, we will face the prospect of a Government appointed team coming in and doing what it thinks best – the local voice and influence will be lost.

My colleagues and I care very much about the NHS and local people’s health, which is why we became GPs, we stood for selection to the CCG and choose to work with the MYHT to get the best possible solutions. That’s why you will see us at public meetings discussing the case for change and what that change might look like.

It’s a very complex situation: there isn’t enough money; there aren’t enough experienced clinicians to go round and the way the NHS delivers services has altered hugely over the past few years, but hospitals haven’t. This all leads to the problems we currently face.

We realise that changing where and how services are delivered is immensely worrying for local people who feel that life-saving services are being cut or rationed. We will not support any proposal to close Dewsbury and District Hospital, but there will have to be changes to make sure the local NHS can deliver the safe, effective services the people who live within the Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust area deserve.

Only when we (and a national clinical safety organisation) are absolutely certain that the Trust’s proposals will deliver what we believe is best for our patients, will we offer our support. We will then take part in the formal consultation process to make sure everyone understands what the proposals mean locally and why change is necessary. I don’t expect that formal consultation process to happen until next year.

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Filed under Chair's blog: Dr David Kelly