A Kirklees MP has piled the pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to clarify her statement that hospital cuts claims were “scaremongering.”
Mrs May made the claim when questioned by the Examiner at a Conservative election rally in Thornhill on June 3.
We asked if it was right that Kirklees, one of the biggest councils in Britain, could be left with no full A&E department.
The question was in reference to already approved plans to downgrade Dewsbury and District Hospital’s emergency department and proposals for a more substantial loss of services in Huddersfield.
Mrs May asked if we were referring to Dewsbury and we clarified we meant both Huddersfield and Dewsbury.
She said it was her understanding that there was “scaremongering” going on and the NHS was safe in the hands of her government.
Dewsbury MP, Paula Sherriff, has now written to the Prime Minister asking her to explain her comments.
In her letter Ms Sherriff says: “Your comments have caused consternation amongst residents in my constituency and across Kirklees.
“I, and many local people, have been shocked by your dismissal of the serious situation faced by NHS services here in Kirklees.”
Ms Sherriff and her Batley and Spen colleague Tracy Brabin have in the past been accused of scaremongering over their comments that A&E services were being lost.
Last January, hospital bosses from Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust issued a strongly worded open letter insisting A&E was not closing.
Ms Sherriff hit back saying she had never said the department was closing, only that services were being transferred to an already overstretched department at Wakefield.
The plan, which is yet to be fully implemented, will see the most seriously ill patients bypass Dewsbury and go straight to Pinderfields.
Dewsbury A&E will still be open 24/7 with full resuscitation facilities.
Those who need specialist care will be stabilised and then transferred to Pinderfields.
The plan to downgrade Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’s A&E to a so-called “urgent care centre” is yet to be decided.
Urgent care centres typically only handle minor injuries and seriously ill patients would be treated at Calderdale Royal Hospital at Halifax.
Health bosses’ plans are due to be reviewed by a joint committee of Kirklees and Calderdale councillors on July 21.
If they oppose it, they will refer it to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, who advise the Department for Health on infrastructure change plans across the NHS.