A charity which helps people with brain injuries has welcomed a move to reinstate neurosurgery appointments at a hospital , 17 years after they were axed.
Patients from the Wakefield area were left with no choice but to travel to either Sheffield or Leeds when the decision to axe neurosurgery at Pinderfields was made in September 1997.
Now the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has struck a partnership deal with surgeons and staff at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
They are helping run a new monthly surgery at Pinderfields that has welcomed patients for the first time.
Sharlene Featherstone is clinical manager at Wakefield’s Second Chance Headway Centre, which supports people who have suffered brain injuries.
She said: “This is really good news.
“Sheffield is a distance for people to travel from a neurosurgery perspective.
“ A lot of our patients have problems with planning and processing information because of their brain injury.
“Getting to places can be stressful and distressing for them.”
Dr Mark Lewis, consultant neurologist and head of service at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are very excited about this new partnership with Sheffield which is finally allowing patients from our area to be seen locally once again.
“I am hoping this will just be the start of a new service that will develop over the coming months and years and be of great benefit to the local population.
“I have to say a special ‘thanks’ to our patient services manager Sarah Clarkson for all her hard work in helping make this happen.”
Wakefield is seen as one of the birthplaces of neuroscience in the UK with a history stretching right back to 1818.
Celebrated scientist Sir James Crichton-Browne turned the West Riding Lunatic Asylum into a research institute and pioneered the early years of neurology.
He also co-founded medical journal, Brain, which is regarded as the first ever neuroscience journal.
* The 1970s brought advancements in neurosurgical techniques, resulting in more people surviving head injuries.
To try and prepare themselves, families of head trauma patients started a group with the help of Pinderfields Hospital.
At the same time a national group was forming Headway the National Head Injuries Association, now known as Headway.