Keighley’s Labour parliamentary candidate called for “urgent action” to tackle what he warned was a chronic shortage of capacity at Airedale Hospital for critically-ill patients.
John Grogan highlighted NHS figures disclosed by Labour this week, which show Airedale NHS Foundation Trust had no spare beds for critically-ill patients on 45 days between November 4 last year and last Wednesday. The statistics are taken from NHS England Winter Situation Reports on Adult Critical Care Beds.
However, Keighley MP Kris Hopkins responded: “This is a disgraceful yet characteristic piece of scaremongering by Labour.
“It is mid-winter, hospitals across the country are going through their busiest period of the year, and Airedale is no exception.”
Earlier, Mr Grogan had said: “I am horrified by these figures, which reveal an NHS so under pressure and under-resourced that there’s a real risk it won’t even be able to treat the most seriously-ill patients entering its doors.
“David Cameron promised us the NHS would be safe in his hands, but the very opposite is true.
“Airedale Hospital is running at its absolute capacity – I don’t wish to imagine what would happen if they had to deal with a major incident or had a particularly busy day.”
Stacey Hunter, director of operations at Airedale, said: “While our critical care beds are frequently busy during winter, we’re managing this as part of our winter pressures, and have not needed to transfer any critical care patients to other hospitals for their care.
“I would like to thank our staff for their hard work this winter, on behalf of our patients, and reassure our local community that should we have a major incident, we have plans in place to enable us to create additional critical care capacity, if needed.”
Mr Hopkins added: “Airedale has consistently rated as one of the best hospitals in the country, and is the jewel in Keighley’s crown.
“I meet regularly with the chairman and chief executive of the trust, and I have the utmost confidence in the management and staff to deliver the best possible services available.
“This government has kept its promise to protect the NHS and its budget and, by 2015, spending on health will have risen by £12.7 billion. Airedale has benefited directly from the additional resources provided.”