Doctors call staff-only meeting to discuss hospital safety fears

doctors at a West Yorkshire hospitals trust will today discuss their fears about patient safety linked to a major shake-up of services.

A special meeting of the Senior Medical Staff Committee (SMSC) at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been called, and management have been barred, according to a letter seen by the Yorkshire Post, due to workers’ fears of “becoming scapegoats”.

A controversial reconfiguration of hospital services will see emergency patients and higher-risk pregnant women no longer being seen at Dewsbury and District Hospital. Dewsbury and Pontefract Hospitals would become centres for planned care, but this is dependent on the development of community services.

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The doctors’ letter, from SMSC chair Dean Okereke, says “many senior clinicians have expressed concerns” about the plans, especially a reduction in beds linked to the development of community care.

It added that concerns included safety fears around day care facilities, “significant” pressures on beds at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and the impact on A&E.

However a joint statement to the YEP from Mr Okereke, a consultant in emergency medicine, and Dr Richard Jenkins, trust medical director and consultant physician, says: “Every month we have a meeting of senior medical staff and trust management which provides a forum for two-way communication and for issues to be explored.

The forthcoming meeting is part of that process and will focus on how we can best deliver the approved reconfiguration plans and also how we can work together to further improve safety.”

They added that the NHS needed to implement a “continuous improvement approach to safety”.