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Fears over queues in A&E at Pinderfields in Wakefield

WAITING TIMES: Pontefract Hospital.
WAITING TIMES: Pontefract Hospital.
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Changes to hospital services could lead to patients facing longer waiting times in a busy A&E department, an MP has claimed.

Yvette Cooper, Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, criticised a shake-up at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust which will see Pontefract’s emergency department re-classified as an urgent treatment centre.

She has raised fears that it will result in too many patients travelling to A&E at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

Ms Cooper said she carried out random visits to both hospitals and found that on one night, the waiting time at Pinderfields was more than six hours but patients at Pontefract were being seen in 45 minutes.

Mid Yorkshire has insisted that no changes are being made to the service at Pontefract and the name change is to guide patients to the right place for treatment.

But Ms Cooper said: “Bit by bit they are just pushing more and more patients into going all the way to Pinderfields when they could and should be treated here.”

The name change at Pontefract will go ahead on April 9. Ms Cooper said it went against a previous promise to maintain a consultant-led A&E in the town.

Trudie Davies, Mid Yorkshire’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “This should not result in more people going to Pinderfields, but what it should do is help people make a better choice about where they need to access the care that they are seeking.”

“Without knowing the date of Ms Cooper’s visit it is impossible to comment on the waiting times she experienced at each hospital.”