I’m pleased to let you know that the new Children’s Assessment Unit at Dewsbury and District Hospital will open on Monday 11 August. The eight bed unit is next door to A&E, so that senior paediatricians will be on hand to assess and treat children. This means less time waiting and less chance of them having to be admitted overnight.
More than 80 per cent of the children who would otherwise have been admitted to the paediatric ward at Dewsbury will be seen in the new unit. It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week until community services are fully developed to support children and young people outside of hospital.
Families in Dewsbury will not need to do anything different as a result of this change. They should still visit their GP practice, call 111 if they need help quickly but it is not a medical emergency, call 999 in an emergency or attend Dewsbury A&E as normal.
Ward 7 will remain open primarily as an outpatient and day care unit but it will retain 10 beds for children needing an inpatient admission.
We made a commitment that no beds would be taken out of Dewsbury hospital until community services were developed sufficiently to manage patients at home more effectively. I am pleased to see that the hospital trust has honoured this commitment.
As a local GP, I am confident that this model of care is the right one for patients. Not only will it provide better hospital support for those who need it, but it will ensure that wherever possible, healthcare is provided at or close to people’s home.
The following is a joint statement on behalf of:
- Jo Webster, Chief Officer of NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group
- Chris Dowse, Chief Officer of NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group
- Stephen Eames, Chief Executive of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
The Joint Kirklees and Wakefield Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JOSC) took the decision on 9 October 2013 to refer the proposals to reconfigure hospital services as part of our Clinical Services Strategy to the Secretary of State for Health. This was on the grounds that members of the committee felt there was sufficient doubt that the proposals were in the best interests of local people.
We have learned today (6 March 2014) that Mr Hunt has replied to the JOSC in response to their referral. He supports an initial assessment by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel that the referral is not suitable for full review and the implementation programme should be allowed to proceed.
We very much welcome the Secretary of State’s decision. This means we can now take forward our plans to reorganise hospital services to significantly improve health outcomes for the people of North Kirklees and Wakefield.
We will continue to involve local people and their representatives in developing the new service models. We will also continue to be open and transparent about our plans so that people know when changes will happen and how services will be better for local people.
The reorganisation of hospital services will take place over the next three years and are part of a significant programme of transformation for the local health system, which will lead to more care being available close to people’s homes reducing the need for treatment in hospitals.
Monday (4 March) sees the start of the Meeting the Challenge public consultation on proposed changes to our local hospital and community health services.
These are very significant changes that we are confident will help us to save more lives and put our healthcare services on a par with the best in the country, providing you, as patients, with better experiences and results.
It is vitally important that you get to have your say on these proposals and over the next few days, you will receive a summary document through the post summarising the reasons behind these proposals and why change is needed. It will outline exactly what is being put forward and what that means for you.
I would encourage you to read and absorb this information and complete the questionnaire which you will find enclosed in the document. You can return this to us via; FREEPOST Meeting the Challenge Consultation.
I would also urge you to come along to our public meeting at Dewsbury Town Hall, 8pm on Monday 11 March where you can air your concerns, get your queries answered and ultimately, tell us what you think.
We want to make sure you can make an informed contribution to this consultation exercise and there will be a series of roadshows and drop-in sessions across north Kirklees over the next three months.
Everything you need to know about the proposals, the process so far and how you can get involved can be found on the dedicated website; where you will also find a downloadable version of the consultation questionnaire.
This is an important process that will shape the future of our local healthcare so I cannot stress enough how crucial it is for you to get involved in this consultation.
If you would like us to come to one of your community meetings or need any further information, contact the Meeting the Challenge team on 01924 317757.
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.