Dewsbury District Hospital
Dewsbury District Hospital (DDH)? – Well at least that’s what the road signs still say – but for how long?
This hospital – bought originally by public subscription has always been a good one – but we stand at a dangerous crossroads, poised to lose our: Grade 1 A&E AND Consultant led maternity services. Vital public services, on which we all depend.
Why? – you may ask.
Although sited in North Kirklees, Dewsbury District Hospital, with Wakefield based Pinderfields & Pontefract, it comes under the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust. The latter two may not be in Kirklees – but we cannot ignore this context – especially in North Kirklees as it is that this context which has dictated the loss of our services.
After all, why would councillors & patients in Wakefield support the retention of services at Dewsbury, in preference to having them placed in their own local hospitals? And this is our problem, we may live in Kirklees but our services are being taken away from us to another area entirely.
Complex orthopaedics, gynaecology, general surgery; colorectal surgery, intensive care, the High Dependency Unit (HDU) will have all been CUT. Whilst inexplicably (given the nationally acknowledged health problems in the Batley and Dewsbury area) , coronary care has GONE too.
Trust services are being centralised at Pinderfields – the least accessible hospital for patients from North Kirklees – undermining the viability of DDH and to be fair, overwhelming Pinderfields – as it has to cope with not only its local flow of patients, but those of us from North Kirklees, who are now being directed there as well.
In deprived Dewsbury and Batley where high risk pregnancies predominate, we are to be downgraded and ‘served’ by a 6 bed mid-wife led unit. This means that most pregnant women and their visitors will be expected to struggle to over-crowded Wakefield, where Pinderfields will have 6 more cases per bed per year.
But our areas are quite different …
- Dewsbury & Batley have a high birth rate – 79 & 74 per 1000 respectively – set against a national average of 63 & Wakefield’s 65;
- Dewsbury & Batley have low birth weights 99 & 108 per1000, set at 81 nationally & 76 in Wakefield;
- but chillingly, infant mortality in Dewsbury & Batley at 8.9 & 8.4 is more than double the national figure of 4.1 with Wakefield at 5.2
So why aren’t the specialist services in Dewsbury where they are needed – instead of a 15 mile journey?
In 2013 Trust attendances at A&E increased by 9% (highest growth in N of England); emergency admissions by 10% – (second highest in North of England).
Yet, Dewsbury is being downgraded to a minor injuries & assessment unit, in favour of Pinderfields.
Result? Increased Journey times, cutting into ‘the Golden hour’ and cases like that of a 90 year old – recently re-directed from Dewsbury to get another bus to Pinderfields to get a shard of glass removed from his finger.
Between 2008 & 2013 emergency admissions went up across the trust – from 6291 to 12409 in DDH – whilst Pontefract’s dropped from 6907 to 832 – yet unfairly, Dewsbury’s A&E is being cut so that it will be on a par with Pontefract – but of course, Pontefract’s an expensive PFI hospital & so has to be prioritised – never mind Dewsbury, which in 2012 was ranked as one the most highly rated A&Es in the UK.
So, at best, those of us in North Kirklees will be left with an elective only re-habilitation hospital – but with deficits of £10.5m piling up year on year – there will be more service cuts at Dewsbury – as the only hospital in the Mid Yorkshire Trust without a PFI debt will inevitably be the victim.
And that’s before our healthcare is funnelled through Simon Steven’s ‘Five Year Forward View’, ‘Footprints’ and ‘STPs’ into expensive, untested American style structures, Vanguards & the reductive West Yorkshire Emergency Care Network.
The downgrade of hospital services in North Kirklees doesn’t stand up clinically, whilst socially it’s a disaster – health inequalities exacerbate other inequalities & undermine social cohesion – and how can a higher volume of acute services centralised in one place like Wakefield intrinsically improve health outcomes?