A threatened A&E department has been given a six-month stay of execution as hospital bosses anticipate a damning report from a government health watchdog.
It is believed that health chiefs had hoped to accelerate a downgrade of services at Dewsbury District Hospital, leading to the end of emergency care at the hospital in September.
But the plan, designed to save £10m a year, has reverted to its original schedule, which means the downgrade will not take place until April 2017.
It is believed the plan was pushed back after Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust’s (MYHT) new chief executive Martin Barkley was drafted in to turn around the troubled trust.
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The Examiner understands that MYHT, which also runs Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield and Pontefract Hospital, is expecting a damning report from government health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
It is believed Mr Barkley, the former chief executive at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust, has ordered a review of the timescale for the downgrade of Dewsbury District Hospital (DDH).
Spen MP Jo Cox, whose constituency includes DDH, said ‘very serious staffing problems’ needed to be tackled at the trust.
Mrs Cox said: “The new chief executive of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has taken the decision to look again at the timetable for these significant changes to services at our hospital.
“In my regular meetings with the trust I have asked that the timetables for all these changes be scrutinised carefully and continually in order that there is minimal disruption in the services being offered.
“Underlying these issues are the very serious staffing problems at the trust, which are currently having a severe impact on service delivery. I have been pushing them to find a resolution to these issues and I will continue to.”
MYHT Acting Chief Nurse, David Melia, said: “We have yet to see the final analysis of the results from the CQC so can’t comment on these directly. We have received some information from the company who undertook the survey and this showed areas where we need to improve. The survey took place last summer and we have been working hard since then to improve our services.
“It’s true to say we still have vacancies for registered nurses (RNs) but much less so than in our recent past. Across medicine and surgery inpatient services in January 2016 there were 123 whole-time RN posts vacant, by the end of April this had reduced to around 47 posts.
“All our staff, but particularly those delivering front line care to patients, work incredibly hard in sometimes difficult circumstances. They are always looking to support new ways of working and I want to acknowledge they are continuing to strive every day for better care for our patients.”