Hospital ‘too small to cope’

Pinderfields Hospital Emergency entrance
Pinderfields Hospital Emergency entrance
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PINDERFIELDS hospital is under “immense pressure” after being built too small to cope with demand, it was claimed yesterday.

The hospital is missing targets for A&E waiting times - and bosses at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust have admitted more patients than they expected are turning up for treatment.

And some patients left waiting for hours are taking their anger out on staff - reducing “battle-hardened nurses” to tears.

The trust is providing 76 new beds at Dewsbury and District Hospital to cope with an increase in patient numbers.

But union officials claim they warned against cutting beds before the hospital was built under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI).

Adrian O’Malley, chairman of the Mid Yorkshire Trust Unison branch, said: “We provided evidence to show more beds were needed.

“Obviously we welcome more beds because there is immense pressure on Pinderfields.

“But we said at the time it was not going to be big enough.”

Mr O’Malley said redundancies had left staff stretched to breaking point at the trust, and feared further pressure on jobs as £30m is slashed from the budget this year.

He added: “If they cut any more jobs, there’s going to be serious problems.”

Trust bosses said more patients were turning up at Pinderfields from other trust catchment areas - which was not part of the plan when the hospital was built.

At a trust board meeting yesterday, chief executive Julia Squire said the extra beds would help meet A&E targets this year.

She said: “The trust has faced significant growth in demand, particularly from catchment areas not included in the PFI business case, the Leeds population in particular.

“At the same time, we have reduced beds by 250 since the business case was produced.”

The trust board meeting was also told nurses were suffering “tremendous abuse” in A&E.

John Watts, interim director of human resources, said: “Some quite battle-hardened nurses are being reduced to tears.”

Mr O’Malley said: “Patients are waiting longer so some are taking it out on staff who don’t deserve it.”

Bosses at the trust have a target of 95 per cent of patients being treated within four hours of arriving at A&E.

Latest figures show Dewsbury and District Hospital is meeting the target, at 95.1 per cent, Pontefract General Hospital’s performance was 97.1 per cent but at Pinderfields, 88.7 per cent of patients were being seen within four hours.

A finance report to the board meeting said: “The trust is in the process of opening 76 new beds to cope with anticipated demand. The trust is also reviewing its production and productivity plans to ensure maximum use of resources without incurring additional costs.”

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