Family doctors are set to back plans which would see Dewsbury’s hospital lose full maternity and A&E services.
The moves are part of a massive reorganisation of services run by the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust which faces financial collapse unless it cuts spending on hospitals in Dewsbury, Wakefield and Pontefract.
Two options have been drawn up which would both lead to full maternity care being withdrawn from Dewsbury where a midwife-led service would be provided for low-risk births.
But the second option would also mean full 24-hour A&E care being axed to be replaced by an urgent care service. More seriously sick and injured people would be treated at Wakefield – although it is likely to have a significant impact on casualty services in Leeds.
Health chiefs will approve a business case next month but a report to the Mid Yorkshire board yesterday revealed GPs in Wakefield and North Kirklees have expressed support for the second option providing certain conditions are met.
Coun Paul Kane (Labour, Dewsbury East), who quit Kirklees Council’s health scrutiny committee to fight the changes, described the decision as a “stab in the back”.
He said Mid Yorkshire was paying out nearly 10 per cent of its income on a private finance initiative deal for new hospitals in Wakefield and Pontefract leaving Dewsbury to pay the price. “It leaves a pittance for the rest of us to deliver a first class service,” he added.
In a joint statement, GPs David Kelly, of NHS North Kirklees clinical commissioning group (CCG), and Phil Earnshaw, of NHS Wakefield CCG, said they expected the formal business case to say the second option was the best way forward.
Stephen Eames, interim chief executive at Mid Yorkshire, said: “Our aim is to reorganise services to provide safe, good quality care which is financially sustainable for the longer term. Doing nothing is not an option.”
No decisions had been taken and a public consultation would be held in January, he added.