Health chiefs overseeing the controversial downgrading of Dewsbury District Hospital A&E have given the thumbs up to NHS England’s emergency care shake-up plan.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has said it welcomes the move to overhaul the way casualty services work.

With accident and emergency units reaching breaking point across the country, NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh yesterday announced a blueprint to radically reduce the number of patients attending A&E.

His plan would see more patients with serious or life threatening conditions receiving treatment in specialised centres instead of at A&E.

A&E departments would be rebranded and split into Major Emergency Centres, which would provide a high range of specialist services, and smaller Emergency Centres.

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

The proposals also include a beefed up 111 service, moves to boost ‘self care’, along with a higher level of ambulance care to allow patients to be completely treated on scene.

Managers at the trust say the idea is the same as what they are trying to achieve in north Kirklees.

Their plan is to downgrade Dewsbury A&E to a minor injuries unit and send critical patients to Pinderfields and Pontefract where higher skilled medics will be based.

Stephen Eames, Chief Executive of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The recommendations made by Sir Bruce are exactly what we are trying to achieve on the ground here in Wakefield and North Kirklees.

“In particular, we recognise a lot of similarities in the model being recommended for Accident and Emergency departments with what we are proposing for our emergency departments in Dewsbury and Wakefield.

“By introducing two types of A&E called Emergency Centres and Major Emergency Centres, we can ensure people have access to the right level of care in the right place, seven days a week.”

Dr Sarah Robertshaw, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “By centralising our specialist doctors and equipment in a Major Emergency Centre we can ensure we have consistent levels of senior staffing and access to expertise seven days a week. This is what is needed to deliver the very best outcomes for patients.

“The trade off for operating a Major Emergency Centre is that we cannot support it in every locality. Whilst we realise this is difficult for some people to accept, my colleagues and I believe wholeheartedly it will mean we save more lives and people will experience a better recovery from things likes strokes and heart attacks.”

The Trust’s A&E plan has been backed by doctors on North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group and Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell.

But the decision has been sent to the Secretary of State after Wakefield and Kirklees councillors’ joint health scrutiny panel said it was not convinced the proposals were in the “best interests” of residents.