What’s the problem in Pontefract?

In Campaigners of note, the conservatives, the labour party on April 25, 2010 at 09:21

Nick Pickles says we don’t know the whole story of the A&E ward, for one thing.

We’ve seen our local MP Yvette Cooper in plenty of photo opportunities at the hospital, but we can’t go on with more of her empty rhetoric.

I have been contacted by several local NHS staff who have raised concerns the public are not being given the full picture and that the A&E services are set to be downgraded soon after the election.

The new hospital does not have any acute care beds, proper access for ambulances or a morgue. Ambulance crews are already under instructions that Pontefract does not accept trauma patients, while nobody seems to know how many beds the new site will have – I have been told it could be as low as 30.

To try and get to the bottom of this, I have also submitted several freedom of information requests to investigate the figures quoted by Yvette claiming 9 out of ten patients will continue to be treated at the hospital.

Staff have tipped me off that this figure has been achieved by not including patients arriving by ambulance and including some out patient treatments.

I find it astonishing that NHS staff have spoken so openly to me about their real concerns that the current A&E provision will be downgraded as soon as the election is out of the way.

On the eve of a general election people in Pontefract deserve answers from their Labour MPs and not just empty rhetoric.

I have previously contacted the NHS trust demanding answers to my concerns over parking charges at the hospital – after more than two weeks, I have still not had a reply.

Nick Pickles is the Conservative PPC for Pontefract, Normanton and Castleford.

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