A former Huddersfield Royal Infirmary nursing chief is a member of the panel that could determine the hospital’s fate, it has emerged.

Helen Thomson, who was director of nursing at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust until her retirement in 2014, is on the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) that advises the Department for Health.

The IRP is likely to be asked to analyse the controversial proposals and make a judgement for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, following the referral by councillors on the Kirklees and Calderdale Joint Health Scrutiny Committee (JHSC) last Friday.

Mrs Thomson has confirmed she will exclude herself from any part in the review to avoid any conflict of interest claims.

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An IRP spokesperson said: “We can confirm that, should the Secretary of State ask the IRP for its advice, panel member Helen Thomson will not be involved in any way.

“All panel members abide by a code of practice and are asked to declare any interests which may, or may be perceived to, conflict with their public duties.”

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Mrs Thomson was a long serving senior member of the trust, standing in as acting chief executive for a time in 2012, prior to the appointment of Owen Williams.

Renowned as the “complete nurse”, she joined the former Huddersfield NHS Trust as head of midwifery in 1989, going on to be director of nursing of the merged Calderdale and Huddersfield trusts in 2001 and deputy chief executive from 2006.