Broken promise claim over A&E

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An mp has accused health bosses of breaking promises over the future of NHS services after the downgrading of Pontefract’s A&E was suggested.

Yvette Cooper was reacting to news that the department could be turned into an urgent care centre under cost-cutting plans.

Most emergencies would be sent to Pinderfields Hospital after next April.

Ms Cooper, the Pontefract and Castleford MP, said a full 24-7 A&E was promised after the hospital opened in 2011.

She said: “They’ve already broken other promises to us on the number of beds, operations and services in Pontefract. Now they are trying to break the A&E promise too.

“They have tried to close Pontefract A&E before and each time we have fought to stop them.

“We will be campaigning just as strongly against these cuts plans now.”

Currently, the A&E is staffed by Mid Yorkshire doctors and nurses between 8am and 10pm. Overnight it is staffed by GPs and specialist nurses.

The A&E costs £6.4m a year to run, of which £3m is spent on the overnight service. Last week a report by Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said that arrangement could cease to make better use of resources.

Health bosses are asking people to have their say on the possible changes after asking Healthwatch, the district’s health and social care watchdog, to launch a survey.

The CCG insisted no decision had yet been made on the A&Es future. Chief operating officer Pat Keane said: “The engagement is the public’s opportunity to tell us their views on the services that are delivered at Pontefract Hospital, and what they may wish to see in the future.”

To take part in the survey log on to www.wakefieldccg.nhs.uk