Ministers urged to ‘get a grip on health crisis’ amid NHS staffing woes in West Yorkshire

Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford.
Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford.
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Health ministers have been accused of “shrugging their shoulders” and failing to “get a grip” on a struggling hospital trust plagued by staff shortages.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Yvette Cooper warned that a lack of doctors and nurses at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust have left some wards with worrying holes in their staff numbers and a massive agency bill, an issue raised by the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

And she told how an elderly lady who spent her final days in Pinderfields Hospital had to wait two hours for a bedpan and 25 hours to see a doctor at a weekend because staffing had become so bad.

Ms Cooper, the MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, said she is “deeply, deeply concerned about the staffing levels not just at Mid Yorkshire Trust, but also at other hospitals across Yorkshire and our health service is being seriously affected”.

She added: “We have warned ministers about this before, but we are deeply concerned that nothing is still being done, and things will get worse if action is not taken.”

The former shadow home secretary said the Mid Yorkshire Trust apologised to the elderly woman’s family for her unacceptable care, but she warned patients are still raising “serious alarm” about the level of staffing on wards. Ms Cooper said: “What is the Government doing about this? Too often ministers are just shrugging their shoulders and thinking it is someone else’s problem or that someone else will sort it out.

Health minister Philip Dunne said the problem of staff shortages at Mid Yorkshire is “well known”. He added: “There are – there’s no hiding the fact – problems.”

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