Leeds & West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire hospital's casualty unit to be downgraded

Dewsbury and District Hospital
Image caption The Accident and Emergency unit at Dewsbury Hospital will treat only minor injuries

Protesters have lost a campaign to stop Dewsbury Hospital's A&E department being downgraded to a minor injuries unit.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has approved a plan by the NHS trust to move emergency services to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said the move would save £24m and help reduce its budget deficit.

Campaigners opposed to the change claim it could lead to lives being lost.

Some specialist maternity and children's services will also move to Wakefield, leaving Dewsbury Hospital with a midwife-led maternity unit.

'Disappointed' reaction

More than 5,000 people signed a petition in opposition to the proposals.

The trust's plan was referred to the health secretary in October by Kirklees and Wakefield councillors who sit on the local health scrutiny committee.

Mr Hunt passed it to the NHS Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP), which assesses the impact of changes to health services.

In its report the IRP concluded that the proposals did not need a full review.

In a statement the trust said it welcomed the decision.

It said: "This means we can now take forward our plans to reorganise hospital services to significantly improve health outcomes for the people of North Kirklees and Wakefield."

Labour councillor Betty Rhodes, chair of the Wakefield and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee, said she was disappointed that their appeal had been rejected.

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