The consultation provided feedback that led to some changes in the proposals, and on this basis we took a decision to go ahead with the plans.
In October 2013 the North Kirklees and Wakefield Joint Health Scrutiny Committee referred the plans to Mr Jeremy Hunt MP, the Secretary of State for Health, asking him to review the proposals and the decisions taken.
Following advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, Mr Hunt announced in March 2014 that the proposals should go ahead.
We very much welcomed this decision. This means we can take forward the plans which we believe will significantly improve health outcomes for the people of North Kirklees and Wakefield. We will continue to involve local people and their representatives in developing the new service models. We will also keep working to explain our plans so that people know when changes will happen and how services will be better for local people.
The reorganisation of hospital services is already underway and is part of a significant programme of transformation for the local health system, which will lead to more care being available close to people’s homes reducing the need for treatment in hospitals. Examples of what has already been achieved in North Kirklees and Wakefield can be seen by visiting the Our Street website www.thisisourstreet.com More information on how care closer to home is being delivered today can be found on the Connecting Care Wakefield website.
During 2014 we saw the introduction of ambulatory emergency care treatment across the Trust’s three hospital sites: Pinderfields and Pontefract Hospitals in Wakefield and the Dewsbury and District Hospital in North Kirklees. The amount of time patients spend in hospital has reduced and a new children’s assessment unit in Dewsbury has been reducing the need for sick children to be kept in hospital overnight.
It will take another two years before all the hospital changes are in place. Over the coming year (2015-16), the plans for Connecting Care and improved primary care access will be extended and finalised. This is crucial to ensuring that the changes in the hospital can take place and will ensure that patients get the right care in the right place at the right time.
In the meantime, we will be working on updating the Meeting the Challenge website with more detail of how we are progressing with all of the agreed improvements.
A copy of the advice provided to the Secretary of State by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel is available at http://www.irpanel.org.uk/view.asp?id=56