Ward closures cancelled due to safety fears

The injured woman was taken to Pinderfields Hospital.
The injured woman was taken to Pinderfields Hospital.

A busy health trust has cancelled the closure of four hospital wards over fears it would lead to a bed shortage.

Bosses at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust will keep four wards open which were due to close in January because of safety concerns.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust was planning to close the wards at Dewsbury hospital as part of plans to reduce admissions.

But the move was put on hold because of rising demand for services at the trust, which also runs Pontefract and Pinderfields hospitals.

Chief executive Martin Barkley said in a letter to MPs: “The main contributory factor is that demand for services across the system is rising, resulting in high levels of demand for admission, particularly in those specialties such as frail older people, respiratory and stroke which traditionally have longer lengths of stay.”

Mr Barkley also cited changes at hospitals in Leeds among his reasons for cancelling the closure of the in-patient wards.

He said: “Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has changed the site which receives most acute medical patients from LGI (Leeds General Infirmary) to St James’s, which means Leeds is no longer nearer than Pinderfields.

“Given the uncertainties about the number of beds required, it does not seem sensible at this time, to lose four wards.”

Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff said hospitals were struggling to keep up with demand because of budget cuts.

She said: “I welcome the trust’s decision and I’m pleased that they are responding to concerns raised about the impact of planned changes on patient safety.

“It is only right that any uncertainties about the number of in-patient beds required are met with prudent planning.

“What continues to concern me here is the immense pressure being placed on our local NHS services to cut costs.”