NHS bed review amid calls to open ‘unused’ hospital wards near Leeds

MP Greg Mulholland outside Wharfedale Hospital, in Otley.
MP Greg Mulholland outside Wharfedale Hospital, in Otley.
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Two “unused wards” at a hospital on the outskirts of Leeds should be brought into use to ease the demand on NHS resources in the city centre, an MP has claimed.

Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West, has raised concerns over waiting times and a shortage of beds at Leeds St James’s Hospital and Leed General Infirmary (LGI) while calling for wards at Wharfedale Hospital, in Otley, to be utilised.

NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which commissions the intermediate care beds service with Leeds City Council and Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, has explained that a review of beds is being conducted.

Stating that there is a “clear need for intermediate care beds in Leeds”, Mr Mulholland said: “It is a constant source of frustration that residents in Otley and the surrounding area, including Wharfedale, Aireborough and North West Leeds, must travel into Leeds to face long waiting times when there is a modern local hospital in the town with two unused wards.

“Using these two empty wards would alleviate some of the pressure on St James’s and the LGI, so it makes sense that with the additional winter demand the Wharfedale Hospital is used to its full potential and supports local residents.”

His comments were echoed by Coun Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon), who is a former Wharfedale nurse.

He said that due to the high proportion of over 85s locally, “Wharfedale Hospital seems the ideal place to reopen wards to support our large hospitals.”

A spokesperson for NHS Leeds South and East CCG said: “Leeds City Council and the NHS are currently reviewing the community intermediate care beds service, including the location and a number of options are being considered.”