Kirklees could be left with no full A&E dept

Halifax road entrance to Dewsbury and District Hospital.
Halifax road entrance to Dewsbury and District Hospital.

Safety fears have been raised over a shake-up of hospital services which could leave the whole of Kirklees with no full accident and emergency department.

Health bosses have announced plans to centralise A&E services in Halifax in a move which would see Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’s (HRI) emergency department downgraded to an “urgent care centre”.

Huddersfield’s main hospital site could be knocked down under the plans by Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

The Calderdale and Kirklees plan emerged on Friday and follows a decision by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust to also centralise A&E services.

Dewsbury will lose its consultant-led A&E as critically-ill and injured patients are taken to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

Mid Yorkshire plans to centralise the A&Es in September - six months earlier than planned after the trust was criticised by the Care Quality Commission over patient safety.

Friday’s announcement was met with shock after it was first thought Halifax could lose its A&E, and its timing was criticised by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The RCN’s Sarah Dodsworth said: “There does not appear to have been adequate open and meaningful consultation in the lead up to Friday’s announcement.

“It seems from the timing that there has been a lack of constructive and collaborative planning alongside the neighbouring Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, which has also recently made public a decision to bring forward its own reorganisation of acute services.

“Downgrading two A&E sites within such close proximity at a time when all of the region’s casualty and emergency departments are under immense pressure has no logic to it and we are struggling to see evidence that patient safety has been prioritised.”

Kirklees councillors also lodged motions to Wednesday’s full council meeting over the A&E move.

One of the motions called on the council to “use all measurers available, to resist any changes to hospital services in both Dewsbury and Huddersfield.”

A motion lodged by Kirklees Liberal Democrat councillors said: “This council deplores the shocking proposal to build a new Huddersfield Royal Infirmary without the provision for full Accident and Emergency service.

“Downgrading the HRI would mean that there would be no full A&E provision anywhere in Kirklees.