MORE patients will be treated at GP surgeries in a bid to reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments.
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has set a target of cutting overall demand on its A&E departments by eight per cent this year.
It is working closely with GPs in the Wakefield District to make sure more patients are seen at local practices.
The trust, which runs hospitals in Dewsbury, Wakefield and Pontefract, said this would reduce the need for hospital beds.
Interim chief executive Stephen Eames said: “We plan to minimise demand on hospitals for those activities and procedures than can be done perfectly well in different settings.”
The most significant reduction in demand is expected at Pontefract and Pinderfields in Wakefield, although there will be some reduction at Dewsbury as a result of fewer patients from Wakefield District need to be transferred.
On Wednesday, the Trust also announced plans to close 54 beds at Dewsbury.
The beds being closed are some of the 76 extra beds opened last year to cope with demand during winter and patients who could not be treated at the over-stretched Pinderfields site.
The Trust says the reduction has been made possible by reducing how long patients stay, improving discharge processes and investing in community services. It says plans to move a rehabilitation service will also free up acute medical beds at Pinderfields.
Under the plans, the Trust’s neurological rehabilitation service will move in the autumn into Dewsbury hospital where it will be combined with the stroke rehabilitation service.
The neurological service covers Calderdale, Huddersfield and Wakefield. It treats around 100 patients each year, with some staying for months.
Mr Eames said: “We are working towards a specialist rehabilitation service which will bring together the clinical teams involved in the services so that they can work closely together. This is good for patients and in the longer-term may give us the opportunity to further expand and develop this specialist service and attract patients from further afield.”
The Trust says the changes will make sure there is space at Dewsbury for a dedicated winter ward during times of extra pressure on services.