A&E patients at Pinderfields Hospital invited to Pontefract for treatment because of huge waits
A&E patients at Pinderfields Hospital were invited to go to Pontefract for treatment because of huge waiting times last weekend, it has emerged.
Wakefield East councillor Olivia Rowley told a scrutiny committee meeting on Monday that she'd heard several patients had left the city's hospital to go to Pontefract's urgent treatment centre for help, after being told by a ward matron they would not be seen quickly.
The NHS trust responsible for both hospitals said it is having to see 100 more patients a day than it did this time last year.
A sharp rise in children and young people suffering from respiratory illnesses and breathing problems has partly accounted for the increase.
The Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust, which also runs Dewsbury Hospital, has again asked patients to only attend Accident & Emergency if their injuries are serious.
Trudie Davies, the trust's chief operating officer, said: "As we move into the colder months of winter it is inevitable that we will experience an increase in the number of people coming to our A& E departments.
"However, in the first week of December we have seen an increase in attendances of 12.6 per cent - which equates to 100 extra patients a day - compared with the same period last year.
"Over the last weekend in particular we have continued to see a surge of attendances in younger patients, which is consistent throughout the region, particularly with respiratory illness.
"Our staff – in all three hospitals and out in the community – are working extremely hard to give our patients the best possible level of care despite the pressure this additional demand puts on them."
The incident happened on the same weekend a four year-old boy was pictured lying on the floor of Leeds General Infirmary as he waited for treatment.
That story, originally published by the Yorkshire Evening Post, dominated national news at the start of this week as the Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked about it on the General Election campaign trail.
Ms Davies added: "We will always do our best to help everyone who attends our A&E departments.
"However, we would ask the public to help us by thinking carefully when you need medical treatment.
A&E departments are for emergencies only: for example strokes, heart attacks, broken hips and severe infections.
"For minor illnesses, your pharmacy can provide advice and you can also go to your GP, with many GP surgeries now offering evening and weekend appointments. Our Urgent Treatment Centre at Pontefract Hospital is also available."
Local Democracy Reporting Service