HOSPITAL bosses defended their proposals to change hospital services in Dewsbury at a meeting this week.
Frustrated local residents had many concerns about the impact of proposed changes to maternity services, emergency care, and children’s services.
But Ruth Unwin, director of communications for the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust, said changes to services had to be made to improve the quality of care, as well as save money.
“We have to improve clinical outcomes so that the hospital that you go to for your treatment delivers the best possible treatment for you,” she told Kirklees Council’s area committee for Dewsbury on Tuesday.
One woman, who had a child with a complex medical condition, said she was worried about her child being admitted to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield as an inpatient.
She said: “I can just about manage when my child is admitted to Dewsbury. I don’t know how I would manage if I had to trail back and forth to Pinderfields every day.”
Ms Unwin said: “If you are making changes to health services you are going to have some things in different places. We are looking at a number of ways we can support people travelling to other hospital sites.”
Other fears were raised about the proposal to take consultant-led maternity services away from Dewsbury, leaving only a maternity-led unit. This means high risk babies would have to be delivered at Pinderfields.
One man said his wife went into Dewsbury hospital for a maternity-led birth, but when complications arose she was switched to consultant-led.
In that case, the consultant was there within minutes. The man said he was worried about what might have happened if consultants were only available in Wakefield, as would be the case under the Trust’s proposals.
Anne Ward, head of maternity at Mid Yorkshire, said consultants would be on call for a higher number of hours and that it could be quicker to transfer a patient to Wakefield rather than bring an on-call doctor to Dewsbury.
“It will actually make us slightly more expensive because we will have to have consultants on the ward more,” she said.
Mid Yorkshire, which runs Dewsbury and District Hospital, is looking at two options for changes to various services across its sites.
Both options would see Dewsbury lose its children’s inpatient service and consultant-led maternity service.
The Trust is planning a formal consultation on a preferred option, due to begin in January.