£196m from Department of Health to wreck Halifax and Huddersfield District General Hospitals

The Department of Health has announced that it has come up with capital funding (which we understand to be a loan) in order to turn the 2 District General Hospitals in Huddersfield and Halifax into one acute and emergency hospital in Halifax and a planned care hospital in Huddersfield with a 24/7 urgent care centre that will also take walk-in A&E patients.

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (now Integrated Care System) are spinning the £196m capital funding loan as something that

“People…will benefit from”.

But if this hospitals “reconfiguration” were to go ahead, it would reduce services for people both in Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield.

The reality is that the £196m that the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System claims it has “attracted”, is to see through the destruction of Huddersfield as the District General Hospital with full blue light A&E – and equally, the destruction of Calderdale Royal Hospital as the District General Hospital with planned care.

The misbegotten plan also aims to cut hospital beds and staff and replace them with “out of hospital” services aka “care closer to home” – although there are no clinically watertight proposals for how this would work.

Various groups including Save Calderdale Royal Hospital, CK999, Huddersfield KONP and Hands off HRI have been campaigning for years to keep both District General Hospitals, each with full 24/7 blue light A&E. And we continue to do so.

La lutta continua! the fat lady has not yet sung!

All but £22m – which is available for the hospitals Trust to spend on Huddersfield Royal Infirmary – is conditional on the hospital trust’s business case. This has not yet been produced, scrutinised or consulted on.

(It will have to be consulted on if it is significantly different from the previous one rejected by Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee and the Secretary of State.)

Update 12.12.18

Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group’s Risk Register for High Level Risks, included in papers for its 13.12.18 Governing Body meeting, rates at level 16

“…a risk that the Full Business Case does not secure the funding required, due to an inability to deliver financial sustainability, resulting in the implementation of the transformational changes required to address the Financial and Quality and Safety case for change being stopped and the whole system becoming financially unsustainable.”

End of update.

It’s Mushroom Farm time again – as it has been for the last 5 years with this proposal

Sadly, it is unclear what the Scrutiny Committee is up to. At its last meeting on 7th September it agreed that:

  • The Co-Chairs would write to the Secretary of State with an update on plans for further scrutiny.
  • The Scrutiny Committee would meet again in November to review clinical and financial sustainability documents and more detailed proposals from the Strategic Outline Case, which was due in October.

But the November meeting was cancelled. Why?

What are the plans for further scrutiny? Why have the public been kept in the dark?

When is the next Scrutiny meeting?

And where are the clinical and financial sustainability documents and the Strategic Outline Case (SOC) that it was to have scrutinised at the cancelled November meeting?

Update 12 December 2018:

The Risk Register for High Level Risks for the Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body meeting on 13.12.18 says:

“CHFT has produced the SOC and has submitted it to NHSI. The SOC includes the provision of funding to develop the OBC and FBC Partnership transformation Board (PTB) established, supported by a System Recovery Group. One of PTB’s responsibilities is delivery of System Financial Sustainability.”

Why was the Strategic Outline Case not scrutinised in public by Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee?

The Risk Register points out that:

The Quality Impact Assessment in relation to the revised proposals has not yet been considered by the CCGs’ Quality Committees.

The Risk Register also says:

The System Recovery Group has established the list of joint projects and a finance dashboard is being tracked. A quarterly contract update has been presented from CMG and a system dashboard is being developed. In support of the response to the Secretary of State regarding delivery of Out of Hospital care, the CCGs have procured external support to strengthen their position on the quantification of the delivery of reduced demand over the next five years.

We have no idea what CMG is and are asking the Clinical Commissioning Group.

Another key point in the Risk Register is:

The Secretary of State has responded that he is pleased with the progress made to date and has requested a further update in January, 2019. Both Governing Bodies have noted the response to the Secretary of State and agreed that should the capital for the proposals outlined at Appendix A be secured, the CCGs should continue to support the work that would be required in order to deliver a final Strategic Outline Case.The Joint Scrutiny Committee has noted the response to the Secretary of State

Is Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee planning to meet in time to scrutinise the Clinical Commissioning Groups’ update in January 2019, before it is sent?

End of update

We shall be asking Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee and the hospitals Trust to answer these questions asap.

The hospitals Trust press release says

“We will continue to work with local people, staff, partners, Scrutiny and campaign groups to ensure that we create the next steps together.”

That is just a bad joke.

Zombie hospital cuts plan cobbled together in 3 month review that excluded the public

This zombie hospital cuts plan was cobbled together  behind closed doors, with no public input or information, following an entirely inadequate response by the Secretary of State/Independent Reconfiguration Panel to the rejection of the original plans by the Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee.

In its response, the Independent Reconfiguration Panel refused to accept that there was an alternative to the centralisation of acute and emergency services in one hospital and planned care services in the other; they also refused our request for them to visit the area and hold public meetings to hear the views of the public, patients and staff.

The predictable outcome has been that the 3 month review period resulted in a  zombie proposal.

We protested about this at a campaigners’ and MPs’ meeting in the House of Commons on 10th September, hosted by Paula Sheriff MP, that discussed possible actions to remedy systemic failings of the Scrutiny and referrals process.

But now the Department of Health is backing the zombie plan.  Some of its key elements are to:

  • end acute admissions at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary for both adults and children,
  • remove the obstetrics medical team from Huddersfield Royal Infirmary,
  • end planned care services at Calderdale Royal Hospital,
  • remove blue light A&E from Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and replace it by a glorified urgent care centre – NOT A&E.

The Department of Health is trying to do to Huddersfield what Hunt tried to do to Lewisham Hospital – close it as an acute hospital under cover of false story about keeping a 24-hour ‘small A&E’

As Keep Our NHS Public has tweeted to Barry Sheerman MP:

“An A&E/hospital that: – can’t admit ill patients to its hospital??!! – can’t take blue light emergencies – can’t handle maternity emergencies – can’t admit ill children? That is a hospital DESTROYED”
“Midwife-led-only service in Huddersfield, to deal with pregnant women ‘not at risk’ when most emergencies are not known to be at risk till the happen – not safe, not fair.”

This is a systemic problem with the Scrutiny/Referrals process

It is not limited to Calderdale and Kirklees. Save Rothbury Hospital recently protested to Northumberland Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee at their  exclusion from the process of reviewing proposals to close wards at Rothbury Hospital, that is being undertaken following Sec of State’s rejection of the original proposals on the basis of their referral by the Scrutiny Committee

We are asking the MPs who attended our House of Commons meeting in September to take up this systemic failing of the Scrutiny/Referral process with the Secretary of State – in relation to both Rothbury Cottage Hospital and Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust hospitals.


  1. A right carry on this. As we live in Emley it is a long way to Calderdale hospital Halifax. Not the best roads either . I think it’s too far for very ill people to go to Calderdale. I was scheduled an operation for 2 11 18. Saw cos ultra in Hudds op to be done in Calderdale in order to stay overnight . Op cancelled. New date 19 12 18 told would be day case . Not acceptable. We need HRI serving Huddersfield properly.


  2. This proposal will leave Huddersfield Hospital with the same sort of services promised at Dewsbury District Hospital in 2013. The last of the changes in Dewsbury officially finished on September 4th 2017 when Acute medicine treatment and consultants left for Pinderfields. In reality of course it had all been leached out much earlier.Not only that, but now the midwife led unit is being run down, and from year 2, working ‘sub-optimally’ CCG words, and the Ambulatory Care Unit, praised to the skies as better than an A&E for elderly people who are taken poorly, is closed for the complete winter.

    Huddersfield people should recognise that once the fully functioning A&E, able to admit to a ward on site, staffed with as many specialist people for the A&E staff to call on with an emergency, is removed, everything else is at risk and ultimately will go as well. Someone should let Barry Sheerman know. I can arrange for him to come to look round Dewsbury District Hospital.


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