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Shortage in senior A&E doctors revealed as reason behind Huddersfield and Calderdale hospital shake-up plan

Hospital chiefs at Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust (CHFT) have admitted that for the past five years they have had only seven permanent doctors on the rota for the two A&Es when 12 were needed

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A shortage of doctors is one of the main reasons plans to shut one A&E ward have been hatched, the Examiner has learned.

Hospital chiefs at Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust (CHFT) have admitted that for the past five years they have had only seven permanent doctors on the rota for the two A&Es when 12 were needed.

They say the gaps in manpower were covered by locums.

CHFT’s emergency care chiefs say with a move to 24/7 care being demanded by NHS England they cannot continue to run two A&E departments with the workforce they have.

And they predict the downgrading of A&E at Dewsbury could lead to an extra 20,000 attendances per year at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI), a growth of almost 30%.

The information was presented by hospital chiefs to a team of senior consultants under the guise of the National Clinical Advisory Team (NCAT).

The NCAT team was invited to CHFT last June to analyse how the hospitals could work in the future amid an increase in patients and a decrease in resources.

The report reveals fears that the staff shortages will lead to unsafe care.

A presentation by CHFT to NCAT says: “We cannot continue to run two A&E departments with the medical workforce we currently have.

“Mid Yorkshire Hospitals reconfiguration will increase our acute activity.”

Managers admit that emergency consultants are currently not on site after 10pm on weekdays or at all at weekends.

New guidelines will require them to be there 16 hours a day, seven days a week.

They come after studies revealed more people were dying during out-of-hours and weekend periods.

The report, which has been leaked online, also confesses that the A&Es at HRI and Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH) are “non-compliant” with many NHS standards for childrens’ care.

It further reports that the favoured option of some clinicians was to have an adult A&E at HRI and a children’s A&E at CRH.

Paediatrics consultants told NCAT they did not believe the option to have just one A&E at HRI was safe if consultant maternity services remained at CRH.

But following further discussions it was agreed that high-risk births should be performed at the same site as wherever A&E was to be.

NCAT also said having separate adult and children’s A&Es would require more staff and was not supported by A&E or acute surgical experts.

NCAT’s report, which was published late last year, concludes that they support a single acute site with more care delivered out of hospital.

Hospital chiefs now say they think HRI is the suitable site for A&E.

But the team behind the full review of hospital and health services said they are open-minded to all options and will continue to analyse the situation ahead of a public consultation in the summer.

 

Top Huddersfield doctor admits A&E staff shortage makes life difficult

A top A&E doctor has admitted staff shortages are hampering care for Huddersfield and Halifax.

Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust’s clinical lead for A&E, Dr Mark Davies, said: “For a while now our Trust, along with every Trust in country, has been feeling the effects of a national shortage of middle-grade A&E doctors.

“We always try as hard as we can to fill the vacancies when they occur but where we can’t we have to use locums to ensure we can provide the safest service for our patients.

“We currently have to duplicate in all areas of cover on two sites 24/7 so by having one site the dependence of locums in the department as the senior decision-maker would be significantly reduced.”

He added: “It is important to recognise that the NCAT recommendations and the strategic outline case in response to this are about having two specialist hospitals, one specialising in acute and emergency care and the other in pre-planned care, such as planned operations as well as developing more integrated care services out of hospital.

“This is not just about A&E.”

But Halifax MP Linda Riordan, said: “This document clearly shows doubts at the highest level about leaving only one A&E in Calderdale and Kirklees.

“It also underlines that decisions are being made for financial reasons and not clinical ones.

“Health policy should be about saving lives, not saving money.

“Momentum is now firmly behind the campaign to save Calderdale’s A&E.”

Just click on the headline below to read the story

Fears for the future of A&E in Huddersfield and Calderdale

Huddersfield and Calderdale A&E options to be revealed

Plans to close either Huddersfield or Calderdale A&E unit confirmed

Huddersfield and Calderdale A&E shake-up questions answered

Read your social media comments on the proposed changes to A&E in Huddersfield or Halifax

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