Hands off HRI campaigners will meet for the first time to formulate their plan.

Founder members of the 42,000 strong ‘Let’s Save Huddersfield A&E‘ Facebook group will be hosting a public meeting at Huddersfield Methodist Mission at 7pm on Wednesday.

They are: founder of the group Karl Deitch, Unison’s Yorkshire health official Natalie Ratcliffe, Elliot Hinchliffe, Ellie MacDonald and Rebecca Cobb.

About 400 seats are available for the meeting, which is expected to last about an hour.

Formal positions will be agreed and elected and a public question and answer session will be held.

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The meeting is being chaired by Natalie. The trade union has paid for much of the initial set up costs of forming the group along with founder Karl Deitch.

Natalie, who lives in Huddersfield herself, said: “The admins from the Facebook group will initially form the committee but at the meeting we will elect a chair, a treasurer and a secretary.

‘Let’s Save Huddersfield A&E‘ Facebook group

“Other positions will also be available.

“There will be a short presentation on the proposals and then we will open it up to the floor for questions.

“We want to see what the feeling is out there.”

Natalie said it was important to try and set party politics and rivalries aside and work together.

“We’re not trying to politicise it,” she said.

Video thumbnail, Rally crowd - credit Twitter/@CabinetMillion
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“There’s a lot of cross party working going on.

It’s about everybody standing behind one banner and saying ‘Hands off HRI’.

“But we have to be mindful that if they do shut A&E and do the reconfiguration there will be massive repurcussions for staff and possible job cuts, so Unison will be involved.”

Video thumbnail, Hands off HRI rally crowd gathering
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The meeting will also discuss ways of generating cash to finance the campaign and organising protests and lobbying in the coming weeks and months.

The first opportunity will be at a meeting of Kirklees and Calderdale Joint Health Scrutiny Committee.

Four councillors from each local authority have been reviewing the proposals for the past two years.

Their first meeting to discuss the new plan is at Huddersfield Town Hall on Friday.

The entrance to Huddersfield Town Hall
Huddersfield Town Hall

The committee has the power to refer the plan to Secretary of State for Health.

The government can then ask the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) for further scrutiny and recommendations.

Two years ago a joint committee of Wakefield and Kirklees councillors used their authority to refer a review of Dewsbury and Pinderfields hospitals to the government.

The IRP was asked to consider the re-configuration but it decided the shake-up could go ahead, which was rubber stamped by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Where is the meeting? Huddersfield Methodist Mission, Lord Street, HD1 1QA

What time? 7pm - 8pm

Who’s organised it? Founder members of the Let’s Save Huddersfield A&E Facebook group

Can I speak? Public questions will take up most of the meeting.

What’s the aim? To elect a committee and plan action for the next few months, including a march.

The agenda:

1) Chair’s opening statement and welcome

2) Brief presentation

3) Speakers - including Clr Erin Hill, former hospital consultant Adnan Mohammed, founder Karl Deitch and other community leaders

4) Fundraising

5) A march on February 6

6) Joint scrutiny on January 29

7) Questions

8) What next?

9) Any other business