Councillors and Hospital Trust to face public questions about quality and safety of proposed hospital services

After nearly a year of silence, Calderdale and Kirklees Councillors are meeting on Wednesday 26th October to resume scrutiny of Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals trust’s contentious plans to dismantle the areas’ two District General Hospitals.

Secretive business plans propose to replace them with one specialist acute and emergency hospital, at Calderdale Royal Infirmary, and one specialist elective care and rehabilitation hospital with a walk-in A&E, at Huddersfield Royal Hospital.

The meeting is at 1.30pm at Huddersfield Town Hall and the agenda and papers are on the Kirklees Council website here.

Early in September, over 80 members of the public signed an open letter calling on Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee to urgently meet in public and resume scrutiny of the contentious plans before it’s too late.

At the last Joint Health Scrutiny Committee meeting in November 2021, the hospitals trust refused to produce its business plans for the reconfiguration. It has continued to claim they are exempt from publishing them now, on the grounds that they will publish them later, when NHS England and the Treasury have approved them and all the relevant private company contracts have been procured.

I have asked the hospital Trust’s Company Secretary to review this decision but she has not acknowledged my email.

The Trust is already racing ahead with carrying out its hospital cuts and centralisation plans, although the Health Scrutiny Councillors have not yet told the Health Secretary whether required criteria have been met in order for the plans to go ahead.

Public deputations at the Scrutiny meeting will make two main demands:

  1. That the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee now sets itself a deadline for informing the Health Secretary whether or not it can confirm that the hospital trust’s business cases meet the three criteria required for his approval of the revised plans, following his rejection of the initial business case in 2017.
  2. That the hospital trust acknowledges that the public interest overrides commercial confidentiality – as it already did in in 2014 and 2017, in respect of the Outline Business Case and Full Business Case for the first version of the reconfiguration – and immediately publishes both current business cases.

Both questions are driven by concerns about the quality and safety of the hospital services proposed in the hospital trust’s secretive business cases.

You can read the two deputations

Here:

And here

2 comments

  1. Yes. Health Scrutiny Committee meetings are always open to the public except on rare occasions when they have private meetings to plan what they’re doing, and these are never publicly announced. So basically any that are publicly announced are also open to the public.

    Like

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