If you call 999 for an ambulance in North Kirklees you’re unlikely to end up in Dewsbury A&E, a new document has revealed.
A leaked list of ambulance service protocols has revealed only a tiny minority of patients in the area will be taken to the nearest emergency department now a controversial re-configuration plan at Dewsbury is complete.
The town’s MP has now raised concerns the situation could get even worse if Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’s downgrade goes ahead.
More than three years after getting the green light to centralise emergency care at Pinderfields, the downgrading of Dewsbury and District Hospital’s A&E was completed last week.
The move means the most seriously ill patients that are transported by ambulance are advised to go anywhere but Dewsbury – normally Pinderfields, Barnsley Leeds or Bradford.
Dewsbury A&E is still open 24/7 to patients who take themselves and has full life-saving facilities if critical patients do turn up.
But a leaked list of advised treatment centres for Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) staff has shown the full scale of changes for the first time.
The lengthy list advises paramedics and ambulance technicians to take their patients anywhere but Dewsbury for the overwhelming majority of conditions.
Out of 63 suspected conditions, medics are only allowed to go to Dewsbury A&E for nine.
The only emergencies that could land you there are; allergic reactions, minor asthma attacks and breathing problems such as COPD, minor diabetic attacks and other minor injuries and illnesses.
Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff, who received the leaked document, has launched a blistering attack on health secretary Jeremy Hunt, saying she was told prior to the downgrade that most patients would be unaffected by the unpopular shake-up.
In a strongly worded letter to Mr Hunt, she said: “Only two months ago, in a letter to me, you advised that around 70% of patients attending the A&E would see no change in the service.
“I was shocked then to see that some 30% of admissions were to be affected.
“So I am dismayed to receive this new evidence which indicates a far greater impact, with the vast majority of conditions listed instructing patients to be taken to ‘Nearest ED (not DDH)’.
“At a time when I continue to hear increasingly from constituents who are experiencing long delays in receiving care, both in ambulance transfers away from Dewsbury Hospital and waits upon arrival at Pinderfields Hospital, this document makes stark reading.
“Indeed, it appears that the impact on ambulance admissions to Dewsbury A&E may have been grossly understated.”
In her letter she added: “I’m concerned that patients calling an ambulance will routinely be taken to hospitals other than Dewsbury.
“With these changes already showing a strain on services at Pinderfields Hospital, what can we expect should the planned downgrade of HRI go ahead?”