RADICAL shake-up of health services could push Pinderfields Hospital to breaking point, MPs have warned.
The debt-ridden Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust announced this week that emergency and complex care could be centralised into one site, most likely to be Pinderfields.
Interim chief executive Stephen Eames said: “We’re looking to more radical scenarios than those that were on the table before.
“We’re at the very early stages.
“There were some proposals made towards the end of last year, but since then the landscape has changed quite significantly.”
MPs criticised the idea, saying it would put too much strain on Pinderfields.
Jon Trickett MP said: “I am alarmed by this idea because Pinderfields is already at breaking point.
“There are long delays at A&E and many cancelled operations.
“It’s a great hospital but it’s overstretched, and if you put more in, it will cause problems.”
Mary Creagh MP said: “It is clear these proposals are based on financial concerns rather than clinical need.
“Pinderfields’ A&E is already under pressure and it is difficult to see how these proposals will help.”
The trust, which is required by the government to save £24m in this financial year and at least £80m by 2015, also runs Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals.
But Mr Eames said the proposed changes would not necessarily mean the closure of A&E at the other two sites.
He said the “minimum level of change” would be to centralise inpatient women and children’s services and inpatient acute surgery.
And he said this would allow the trust to increase the level of “planned and diagnostic services” at the other two hospitals.
He said: “How we organise emergency and supporting services doesn’t mean we won’t provide emergency care at other locations. It might be changing the nature of emergency services, not withdrawing them.”
Mr Trickett urged the trust to be transparent.
He said: “The public have been strung along for years and if they’ve got a secret agenda with this we need them to come clean.”
But last Friday, the trust met 120 representatives from health organisations, councils and patient groups to talk about the potential changes.
And they said a formal three-month consultation would open in January to give the public a say on any changes.
Mr Eames added: “We want to be up front as we can and spend the rest of the calendar year working on options in detail and working with the community in a pre-consultation as a first step in the process.”