Halt the meaningless Consultation on proposed hospital cuts now!

Calderdale and Huddersfield Support the NHS campaigners and members of the public will call on Councillors to make an immediate halt to the proposed hospital cuts consultation, when they attend the Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee meeting at Halifax Town Hall on 3.45pm on Monday 22 February.

From 3pm, they will demonstrate outside Halifax Town Hall to highlight their demand for Councillors to stop the Consultation now.

At the start of the meeting, several campaigners and members of the public will make deputation statements. They will point out that the proposed hospital cuts Consultation is meaningless, since it only asks the public about one option for the future of the NHS and social care in Calderdale and Kirklees.

The NHS Commissioners’ single option proposes to:

  • turn Calderdale Royal Hospital into the acute and emergency hospital for both areas,
  • knock down HRI, sell the site and build a small planned care hospital and urgent care centre on the Acre Mill site, to serve both areas
  • move a lot of services out of the hospitals

In London, members of the public recently made a successful legal challenge to a single- option Lambeth Council consultation, on the redevelopment of a much-loved housing estate. The judge ruled that consulting on a single option was unlawful.

Calderdale and Huddersfield Support the NHS campaign groups will also tell Councillors that a second reason to immediately stop the proposed hospital cuts Consultation is that its proposals are contrary to the health needs of the population.

Paul Cooney, Secretary of Huddersfield Keep Our NHS Public, said:

“Our health needs are for evidence-based, comprehensive, universal, equitable and value-for-money health care.

The health care proposed in the Consultation Document is none of these things, as far as we can see. And we’ve looked hard.”

Edna Bruniges, a Kirklees resident who has been ploughing through the draft Consultation Document, said

“I had to come away from it for a while as almost every paragraph is unsubstantiated spin.”

The campaigns have sent the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee Councillors a written analysis of the Consultation Document spin, where they counter the spin with facts.

Jane Rendle, Chair of Calderdale 38 Degree NHS Campaign group, said:

“We’re calling on the JHSC to stop the consultation on the Right Care Right Time Right Place proposal and refer it to the Secretary of State, as it is not fit for purpose.

The Care Closer to Home information in the consultation documents is not sufficient for either experts or the public to answer the Consultation questions. The hospital reconfiguration would compromise the quality of care, but the consultation document doesn’t mention this. And the proposal is made for financial reasons, not to improve the quality of care.”

Christine Hyde, Chair of North Kirkless Support the NHS, said,

“Let’s not repeat past mistakes. In 2013, the Wakefield and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee rejected the single option for the future of the Mid Yorkshire hospitals, as unfit for the people in the area, but the Secretary of State overruled them and let it go ahead.

We’ve now had time to see that the Wakefield and North Kirklees single option that was consulted on should not have gone ahead.

Pinderfields now suffers from delayed ambulance handovers and overcrowding, while patient care at Dewsbury has suffered as the District Hospital is being downgraded to a planned care clinic and urgent care centre.”

Holmfirth resident Terry Hallworth said,

“The Consultation Document does not provide enough information for the public to be able to make up our minds about the proposed hospital developments’ value for money, or about the ownership of the new Huddersfield planned care hospital at the Acre Mill site.

The site is jointly owned by Henry Boot and the hospitals Trust in a 50:50 joint venture called Pennine Property Partnership. Last year, the Trust paid a rent of £2.6m + service charges and associated costs to the Pennine Property Partnership for use of the new Acre Mill outpatients building.

So the Consultation Document needs to tell us if the new hospital will be privately owned – unlike HRI which belongs to us, the public. And if so, how much is it going to cost the Trust to use it?”

NHS athazagoraphobia

Jenny Shepherd, Chair of Calderdale & Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS, said:

“The facts that we’ve uncovered indicate that these proposals will funnel increasing amounts of public money into private companies, where money will be wasted on shareholder profits and staff bonuses.

And there will be more waste of NHS money on the market bureaucracy needed to tender and procure services and manage the resulting contracts. None of this is acknowledged or costed in the Consultation Document, or the Pre Consultation Business Case.

The only real solution is to restore the NHS to its principles of providing comprehensive, universal, equitable healthcare, that it is the duty of the Secretary of State to provide, and that is free at the point of clinical need and fully publicly owned, run and funded.

We encourage everyone to ask their MPs to vote for the cross-party NHS Reinstatement Bill when it has its second reading in the House of Commons on 11 March.”

The Joint Health Scrutiny Meeting has been reconvened to scrutinise the NHS Commissioners’ draft Consultation Document, that they failed to present to the JHSC meeting on 29th January.

Outraged members of the public overwhelmed the Scrutiny Officer’s email inbox, demanding proper scrutiny of the document, so tomorrow’s meeting was scheduled.

On the agenda is scrutiny of the draft Consultation Document and the draft Consultation questionnaire.

The Joint Health Scrutiny Committee has the power to stop both the consultation and the implementation of the hospital cuts proposals, if it decides that the consultation is meaningless by virtue of only asking the public about one option, and the proposals are contrary to the population’s health needs.

It can do this by referring the Consultation and its proposals to the Secretary of State for Health.

It has the duty to use its power, in order to protect the population from damage to their health care system.

Here is the Kirklees Council webpage for the Calderdale & Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee. It includes contact details of Councillors on the Committee.

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