Parliamentary candidates call for pause to Dewsbury District Hospital reorganisation

Labour party campaigners fighting to save Dewsbury and District Hospital from downgrading have welcomed reports that the new head of the NHS wants to resist centralisation.

Plans to reorganise and centralise services away from Dewsbury means the hospital faces significant reductions to its A&E and maternity departments and the complete loss of its children's ward, among other services.

But reports in the national press suggest Simon Stevens, who will take over as head of the NHS next year, wants smaller, community hospitals to play a bigger role, especially in the care of older patients.

Mr Stevens signalled a clear change in policy by calling for a shift away from big centralised hospitals, such as is proposed by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust in the reorganisation that will affect Dewsbury.

Labour’s Jo Cox, prospective parliamentary candidate for Batley and Spen, said: “Simon Stevens, the new head of the NHS, has endorsed what campaigners for our hospital knew all along; community hospitals have a key role to play in our NHS.  A one size fits all drive to centralisation is outdated and ineffective.

“It's now time for the Tory government and the local trust, to heed his advice and go back to the drawing board. Our message to the Tory government is clear, our community won't stand by while you turn our hospital into a shell.”

Jo and Paula will be launching a new petition next week calling on the Health Secretary and the Trust to put their plans on hold in light of Mr Stevens’s announcement and reconsider their reorganisation of Dewsbury hospital.