The Calder Valley MP, Conservative Craig Whittaker, has failed to support constituents’ calls for public hearings into the highly contentious hospital cuts and changes plan that both Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group and Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Bodies are set to support at their meetings this week. An email from his constituency admin person says,
“As the matter has already been passed to the secretary of state as requested by the joint panel, he does not see that he can add anything further at this stage until the outcome of any decisions are known.”
Although Halifax MP, Labour Holly Lynch, at first replied to constituents’ requests with an email that failed to support their calls, after attending the dire Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body Meeting this afternoon (12th October), Holly has agreed to write to the Independent Review Panel supporting our demand for them to visit the area and hold public hearings. She is also sending a representative to the ck999 meeting on October 13th, to discuss next steps.
Meetings in Huddersfield on Wednesday and Halifax on Thursday approved Clinical Commissioning Group officers’ recommendation to tell the NHS England quango that they support Calderdale and Huddersfield hospital trust’s Full Business Case for hospital cuts and changes, that the public consultation overwhelmingly rejected last year.
There was vocal public opposition at the meetings, held at the Textile Centre, Huddersfield at 3pm, Wednesday 11th October and at Shay Stadium, Halifax at 2pm on Thursday 12th October.
A report on the meetings will be available soon.
The cost-cutting plans involve the dismantling of Calderdale’s and Huddersfield’s District General Hospitals, to be replaced with care in the community, one acute and emergency hospital in Halifax that will have to serve both areas, one 64-bed planned care hospital in Huddersfield, also to serve both areas, and a nurse practitioner-staffed urgent care centre in Huddersfield.
All Calderdale patients will have to travel to Huddersfield for planned operations and cancer treatment. All Kirklees patients will have to travel to Halifax for acute and emergency care. Hospital beds and staff are to be slashed and there is little or no extra provision for GPs and community services to make up for lost hospital services.
Calderdale and Kirklees Councillors’ Joint Health Scrutiny Committee have referred the hospital cuts and changes plans to the Secretary of State for Health as unfit for the people of both areas, unfit for the local NHS and lacking in the consultation department.
But the Clinical Commissioning Groups reckon all the 19 problems and flaws the Councillors pointed out have now been fixed and they will ask the Governing Body, made up mostly of local GPs, to tell NHS England to go ahead with their process of “assuring” the hospital Trust’s Full Business Case.
Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS don’t think so.
In a report to the Independent Review Panel, the group that is campaigning to keep both District General Hospitals, each with their full blue light A&E 24/7, have detailed over 15 areas where the Full Business Case is seriously flawed and/or at variance with the proposals that were consulted on last year.
Members and supporters of Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS have asked their MPs, in all six constituencies affected by the cuts and changes, to support their call to the Independent Review Panel to visit the area and hold public hearings where NHS and social care staff, patients and public can tell the Panel what they think of the plans. The campaigners say this is the only way the Independent Review Panel can properly investigate the proposals.
So far only Holly Lynch, MP for Halifax, Paula Sheriff, MP for Dewsbury, and Thelma Walker, MP for Colne Valley, support this demand. The Calder Valley MP has declined to support constituents’ requests, while appeals to Barry Sheerman, Huddersfield MP, and Tracy Brabin, MP for Batley and Spen, seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
Updated 12 October with info that Holly Lynch MP supports the ck999 demand that the Independent Review Panel visits the area to hold public hearings into the hospital cuts plans and she is writing a letter to them to that effect; and her constituency assistant is attending the ck999 meeting on her behalf.