On Friday 19th March, NHS campaigners are to warn Councillors that there is no evidence that revised plans for Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital are safe and fair.
They will tell Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee they consider the hospitals Trust Future Plans public engagement to be invalid. NHS organisations have failed to provide evidence that their hospital plans are safe, despite repeated requests.
Campaigners will ask Councillors to grill the Trust for the evidence. If this doesn’t work, they will ask the Health Secretary’s Independent Reconfiguration Panel to step in.
Jenny Shepherd from 999 Call for the NHS said,
“The Independent Reconfiguration Panel rejected the first set of hospitals cuts and centralisation plans as not in the interests of local people. If need be, we’ll ask them to tell the NHS organisations they can’t go ahead with the revised plans until they can show they’re safe.
“The hospitals Trust is in the middle of a rushed 3 week public engagement on the new buildings plans, so that they can put in planning applications in May or June.
“We’re very worried that we’re going to end up with A&Es, emergency wards and an Intensive Care Unit that are all too small to be safe.
“The Trust need to slow down and take the time to come up with evidence that their decision to keep hospital bed numbers at 2019 levels is safe, given that their own Strategic Outline Case shows hospital use is forecast to increase due to population growth.
“They say their aspiration is that Care Closer to Home services will cut A&E attendance and reduce emergency hospital bed days by more than 10% over 5 years – but they’ve not come up with any evidence to support this aspiration.”
Cristina George from Hands off HRI says the Transport plans are not based on good evidence either.
“The transport plan is based on a survey carried out in November 2020, when the country was in the middle of the pandemic and there were few visitors to inpatients in HRI. No wonder their report states that that 0% of visitors to HRI used public transport.
“There should be a commitment from the Trust to develop plans that don’t disadvantage the most vulnerable in our society. Every help must given to those who struggle, whether that be physically, mentally or financially.
“The plans that the Trust have developed do not do this.”
Steven Slator from Hands Off HRI will ask Councillors to look again, as a matter of urgency, into the revised plans’ downgraded provision of emergency care at HRI. He said,
“The many HRI patients who require critical and acute treatment and care and who have so far been able to be treated at HRI will no longer have this level of service locally to Huddersfield. Instead local blue light patients will bypass HRI and be taken to Halifax. This will be to their significant detriment.
“We request that the Committee recommend that the necessary, and fully-staffed, clinically co-dependent services for a full A&E department be provided on site at HRI.”
The virtual Health Scrutiny Committee meeting starts at 9pm and will be screened on Calderdale Council’s You Tube channel.