Fears that sudden loss of specialist doctors from Yorkshire hospitals will hit patients

Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield. Picture by Ross Parry.

Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield. Picture by Ross Parry.

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The loss of several expert neurologists at West Yorkshire hospitals will have a “significant impact” on patients, it is feared.

Five of the eight neurologists at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust (MYH), who work with people who have nervous system conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), stroke and movement disorders, are leaving the trust in the next four months.

The news has sparked concern among patient groups, with a local branch of the MS Society telling members that some non-MS appointments are likely to be altered or cancelled due to the changes.

Peter Newsome, chair of the MS Society’s Wakefield & District Branch, said the departures come as “worrying news” for patients but believes people with MS, epilepsy and headaches will see little change.

He said: “Diagnosis for all conditions will still be carried out locally. However, services for other conditions, including inpatient services in the hospital and outpatient clinics for other neurological conditions will be impacted. In the short term some appointments may be altered or cancelled.”

He added: “This will obviously have a significant impact on some patients.”

Richard Kennedy, interim associate medical director at MYH, said: “The trust is committed to continuing to receive GP referrals, offering a full diagnostic service and treating some patients with specialist needs. Cases where the expertise is not available locally will be referred to neighbouring specialist centres.”

Confirming services are being “restructured”, he said MYH has had issues retaining staff as there are specialist neurology centres nearby.

Staff loss could hit three sites

Neurology is the branch of medicine that deals with the structure and function of the nervous system.

It involves the diagnosis and treatment of disorders that affect it like Multiple Sclerosis, short-term memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and stroke.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust hosts neurology services across three sites.

Pinderfields Hospital has 16 outpatient clinics per week including those specialised in headaches, movement disorders, MS and dystonia. It also has clinics for Parkinson’s disease and headaches. Dewsbury and District Hospital and Pontefract Hospital also host outpatient clinics.