Hands Round HRI Saturday 2nd December, 11.30 am

Stop the transfer of acute services to Halifax going ahead regardless of the Independent Review Panel referral!

Hand Off HRI’s Hands Round HRI event will form a human ring of protection around our hospital, in quiet protest against stealth ward swaps that will send cardiology and respiratory acute medical wards from Huddersfield Royal Infirmary to Calderdale Royal Hospital, and an elderly care ward from Halifax to Huddersfield.

Please meet on the playing fields above the Esso Garage on New Hey Road (just above Lindley roundabout), on Saturday 2nd December, 11.30 am where there will be speeches, and then walk to the hospital. Alongside the usual Honk For Your Hospital Event, everyone will form a quiet ring round the hospital.


Colin Hutchinson, member of Doctors for the NHS and former Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals consultant said,

“The move towards making CRH the ‘hot’ site is pressing ahead, review or no review.”

The hospital Trust says this is an interim arrangement to take pressure off the hospitals over the winter. But the briefing for Scrutiny doesn’t say when it will be reversed.

Running down our District General Hospitals

The run-down of our 2 District General Hospitals in Huddersfield and Halifax started in 2006 with the ‘Looking to the Future’ Consultation in 2006 carried out by the Calderdale, Central Huddersfield and South Huddersfield Primary Care Trusts. This involved transferring HRI’s consultant maternity services to CRH.

Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee referred the proposed changes to the Independent Review Panel, but they agreed with them. 

A hospitals Trust spokesperson has described the process that started in 2006 as “specialisation”, and told ck999,

“Specialisation is down to clinical safety and quality. There are a number of specialties co-located at the Huddersfield site including trauma,  acute surgery, gastro, paediatric surgery.”

But there is little evidence that specialisation has anything to do with clinical safety and quality – as the Joint campaigns’ written statement to the Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee meeting in February 2016 pointed out.

The Kings Fund November 2014 report “The reconfiguration of clinical services -What is the evidence?” states,

“[T]hose who are taking forward major clinical service reconfiguration do so in the absence of a clear evidence base or robust methodology with which to plan and make judgements about service change…”

And with respect to service rationalisation/centralisation across multiple hospital sites and concentrating services through ‘swaps’ between hospital sites, it found,

“Finance and workforce were the primary drivers of this type of reconfiguration.”

A Hands Off HRI member provides at least anecdotal evidence that specialisation of services between our two hospitals does not serve clinical safety and quality well:

“I witnessed first hand as an inpatient at CRH myself a few years ago, a gastro patient suffered agonising pain for nearly two days whilst she awaited a bed on the gastro ward at HRI. She had firstly been admitted to gynaecology ward CRH. It became obvious by investigations she had gastro problems not gynae but there wasn’t a gastro ward at CRH so she needed a bed at HRI. She ended up being Blue lighted by ambulance at night to HRI. The patient needed emergency surgery to remove her appendix. I was told although they had free theatre and staff at CRH the specialist surgeons were based at HRI…This isn’t the health professionals’ fault, they were trying their best…I am grateful for all staff struggling in these challenging times.”

All they talked about was money

All they talked about was money, when the Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body met on 12th October and agreed to tell NHS England they support the hospital Trust’s Full Business Case for the hospital cuts and changes.

They said that the Full Business Case:

  • is in line with the model they consulted on (which ck999 disputes – since it includes Sustainability and Transformation Plan schemes that were NOT consulted on),
  • is affordable to Commissioners, and
  • improves and achieves the financial sustainability of the Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield system of care.

This is despite the fact that the Chief Finance Office Neal Smurthwaite told the meeting,

“The Calderdale CCG QIPP gap gets more challenging whether or not the FBC is supported. But it becomes harder to deliver without reconfiguration. Savings for the CCGs would be halved without this.”

(The “QIPP gap” is the difference between the “efficiency” savings (cuts) they’ve been told to make, and the “efficiency” cuts they’re able to make).

Both the Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups and the hospitals Trust are in special measures, as they are not in a position to meet harsh financial controls imposed as part of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Sustainability and Transformation Plan. This aims to cut NHS and social care spending by over £1bn by 2020/21, compared with current spending levels.

Neal Smurthwaite said that because they couldn’t see how to make all the imposed cuts, both Clinical Commissioning Groups were going to introduce a new form of contract with the hospitals Trust.

We asked what this new form of contract was and were told it was a local variation to the standard contract – which we understand to mean less than the National Tariff.

These kinds of proposed changes to contract urgently need scrutiny. If areas are paying less than the National Tariff they will end up with a second class health service – not a National Health Service.

The Calderdale and  Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups’ and hospitals Trust Recovery Plan that was presented to the 12/10/17 Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body meeting talks of a new “Aligned Incentives Contract” between the 3 organisations. ck999 is trying to find out what this means.

In Portsmouth, where this form of contract has been introduced, instead of being paid for every treatment for every patient the hospital gets one payment for the year and that has to cover everything that comes through the door. Raising the question of what happens if more comes through the door than the one-off contract can cover.

Our hospitals are in a dire state because of harsh funding cuts

The harsh Sustainability and Transformation Plan financial controls have put our hospitals in a dire state. For example, on 9 nov 2017, Tasmin McGuigan posted on the Hands off HRI facebook group:

“During the past 24 hours I have been reminded why I fight so hard to keep our HRI open with full services. The A&E, paediatric, ambulance and nursing staff that helped were amazing despite lack of space, time and functional equipment to hand. Thank you so much for taking care of us.

I spoke to a paediatric nurse who, from her overstretched position as the only senior at hri, agrees that the care provided as it stands would be better if on one site. She relayed times that she has had to choose between staying on site and traveling on a transfer and the fact that it can be more than half hour before a consultant can get across sites!

The ambulance crew felt the opposite way. She said that the pressure and distance would only lead to problems and complications down the line.

At Calderdale, we got the last bed on the children’s ward. They had only two working monitors for that ward, one of the lights was flickering and there was a shortage of pillows.

The nurses were so thoughtful and caring. They made sure my daughter was comfy and well observed, they made sure i was calm and fed, they got drinks, changed bedding, cleaned messes, administered medicines and so much more. They really were amazing given the circumstances they were under.

For those worrying after reading this, shes okay and back home safe, she’s tired and on meds but heading the right way and now the shock’s worn off, parents are okay too.

We need HRI. We need Calderdale. We need all hospitals to be fully staffed, fully equipped and available locally. I’m even more determined to save HRI now. We WILL overcome. We have no choice!”

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