Pressure will be on Wakefield and Pontefract emergency clinics this winter

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Accident and emergency clinics in Wakefield, Pontefract and Dewsbury will face a “very, very real challenge” this winter, the area’s hospitals chief has said.

Jules Preston, chairman of the Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust, said that rising numbers of patients visiting A&E meant seasonal pressures would be felt across the service.

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Last February, the then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt declared 2017/18 to have been the “worst ever” winter crisis within the NHS.

More than 1,000 A&E patients across the country were not seen within 12 hours during the period.

Although Mr Preston said that the Mid Yorkshire trust is in a better position to treat people en masse than last winter, he warned that the coming months would be difficult.

Speaking at a trust board meeting on Thursday, he said: “We’re all aware of what challenges the winter will bring.

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“Just because we’re in a better place today than we were last year, does not suggest it’s going to be any easier.

“We know situation with the number of patients expecting treatment, needing beds and attending A&E are all going up.

“If we continue to get the escalation that we’re experiencing, then it will be a very, very real challenge.”