A Tory councillor has branded Dewsbury hospital chiefs “obstructive and unhelpful” after staff raised fears over shake-up plans.
Mirfield councillor Martyn Bolt said medics were against downgrade plans for Dewsbury District Hospital and challenged bosses to seek their views.
Dewsbury hospital’s accident and emergency department is to lose its overnight consultant and there will be changes to maternity and children’s services.
Clr Bolt, who is also Mayor of Kirklees, contacted Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust after being told by a doctor – who initially didn’t know who he was – that staff had concerns and most were against the changes.
Clr Bolt said the Trust was claiming staff supported the changes and he wrote to Trust chief executive Stephen Eames in January urging him to carry out an “unbiased survey.”
The Trust refused but instead offered Clr Bolt the chance to meet “key consultants” which he declined.
Clr Bolt said: “I believe the Trust has been obstructive and unhelpful and has stonewalled reasonable suggestions for a meeting.”
He said he wanted an “open and inclusive” meeting not one to hear the views of consultants who had been “cherry-picked.”
Clr Bolt said he had debated the issues with health bosses at Mirfield Town Council meetings and defended his call for a proper consultation with staff.
“When someone on the front line tells you directly they are concerned and that concern is shared by many others it sets alarm bells ringing,” he said.
In a statement Mr Eames said: “We have invited Clr Bolt to meet the heads of clinical service in one of their regular meetings on three occasions, and this invitation remains open.
“It’s unfortunate that Clr Bolt has refused to do this and has then chosen to unsettle the public and our staff by making misleading comments to the media.
“Staff engagement has been absolutely crucial to the development of the clinical services strategy.
“Senior clinical staff across the Trust played a key role in developing our plans to improve and modernise hospital services as well as services in the community close to people’s homes and in their homes.
“We actively engaged with our staff during the formal consultation process and provided a range of opportunities to provide feedback. This included a series of open meetings across the Trust’s three main hospital sites.
“They were attended by more than 1,000 staff from all sites and specialities. According to the feedback we received, over 90 per cent agreed or strongly agreed they understood what was being proposed in the consultation and more than 80 per cent thought the information was presented clearly. Only a third of all respondents disagreed with some aspects of the proposals.”
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