Plea to halt Kirklees A&E downgrade

NHS bosses have already decided to downgrade Dewsbury's A&E department.
NHS bosses have already decided to downgrade Dewsbury's A&E department.

Campaigners pleaded with a council watchdog to halt a “flawed” hospital shake-up which could leave Kirklees with no full A&E department.

But they were told Calderdale and Kirklees joint health scrutiny committee has no power to stop a public consultation over plans to centralise emergency care in Halifax.

Huddersfield Royal Infirmary would be knocked down if the plan goes ahead and the town’s A&E downgraded to an “urgent care centre”.

It has raised fears that people in Kirklees would have too far to travel for treatment after plans by neighbouring Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust to downgrade Dewsbury’s A&E were already approved.

Mid Yorkshire wants to proceed with its own A&E centralisation from September, six months earlier than planned, and have critically-ill and injured patients treated at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

At Monday’s meeting of the scrutiny committee at Halifax Town Hall, Christine Hyde, of Dewsbury Keep Our NHS Public, said the move by Mid Yorkshire was affecting patient care.

She said: “Let’s not repeat past mistakes.”

NHS activists claimed the committee could halt the Calderdale and Huddersfield proposals immediately if it decided the consultation was not fit for purpose.

Campaigner Jenny Shepherd told the meeting: “The consultation is flawed because it proposes only to consult on a single option for change.”

Calderdale councillor Malcolm James said the committee had taken legal advice.

Coun James said: “This joint committee has no power to stop it.”

But the proposals could still be reviewed by an independent panel if the committee referred the plan to the health secretary.