When is public consultation not public consultation? When you just go through the motions.

There is much criticism that the hospital consultation launched by Greater Huddersfield and Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Groups is just a box-ticking exercise.

They only have a Plan A so what’s the point in consulting? It’s the only deal on the table.

Hundreds of people were locked out of Monday’s public meeting at the John Smith’s Stadium.

And even those lucky few who got to ask a question were left frustrated at the poor apologies for answers that they received.

CCG bosses were lulled into a false sense of security by Thursday’s poorly-attended gathering at North Bridge Leisure Centre in Halifax.

The real meeting was always going to be in Huddersfield. The signs were clearly there after 6,000 people went on the march through Huddersfield town centre in February.

Video thumbnail, Protest after stadium meeting
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This meeting was always going to be over-subscribed and the CCG was warned that the Revell Ward Suite was never going to be big enough.

They put on an overflow room downstairs to accommodate another 100 or so but it was too little, too late.

If the CCGs truly want to consult the public and give everyone who wants it a chance to speak why not find a bigger venue?

The queue that snaked around outside the John Smith’s Stadium showed that the CCG wasn’t taking this seriously and had simply failed to plan for the numbers that were always going to turn up.

READ MORE: Hundreds shut out of hospital meeting as protesters descend on John Smith's Stadium

READ MORE: Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman working on A&E 'Plan B'

Frankly, it was an embarrassment for the CCG’s PR machine. The room was inadequate, the panellists seemed ill-prepared and mealy-mouthed and the public’s frustrations just grew.

The CCG had every chance to make alternative arrangements or – at the very least – open up a stand at the stadium to allow all those locked out to at least sit down and listen.

Instead the furious chanting from those outside percolated into the main room, providing an audible backdrop to what the people of Huddersfield think about these plans.

Video thumbnail, Crowd chants outside hospital meeting - credit Twitter/@Labourcv
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If the CCG couldn’t organise a public meeting properly how can we expect them to decide the future of health care for our children and our children’s children?

This shabby attempt at public consultation is a mere sham.

The one bright spot to emerge from Monday night is that there are some senior clinicians within our hospital and health service who are, it seems, ready to stand up and speak out.

READ MORE: Miracle man Sean Doyle warns 'lives at stake' over A&E shake-up plan

READ MORE: Hands Off HRI: Ambulance patient waited almost THREE HOURS to be checked into Barnsley Hospital

Clearly there’s a body of opinion within the NHS locally who don’t think that Plan A should be the only show in town.

These health professionals need to stand up and be counted. Yes, it takes bravery and courage to go against your bosses but the healthcare of future generations is too important not to.

This plan isn’t Right Care, Right Time, Right Place. It’s wrong, wrong, wrong

Video thumbnail, McCartney slams CCG panel over lack of plan B (John Smiths meeting)
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