Campaigners fighting to save hospital services in Huddersfield claim a public meeting was “a sham”.
The meeting in Halifax was the first of two when health chiefs want to spell out their plans for both Huddersfield and Calderdale.
But many of those who went to the Thursday evening meeting at North Bridge Leisure Centre claim that very little information was given out and questions went unaswered.
The meeting was the first of two large public meetings where the Right Care Right Time Right Place plan will be formally presented by local NHS bosses.
The second one is at the John Smith’s Stadium on Monday, April 18 at 6pm.
They follow the official start of a 14-week public consultation on the plan on March 15.
Under the controversial plans Huddersfield would be left without full A & E cover, which would be provided at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
The Royal Infirmary would be shut down and replaced with a smaller planned care hospital on the Acre Mills site.
The plans have prompted a massive backlash in Huddersfield with tens of thousands signing petitions opposing the proposals.
It is thought more than 2,000 protesters could attend the Huddersfield meeting, but the venue is only expected to be able to house between 400 and 500 people.
Let’s Save Huddersfield A&E founder Karl Deitch said: “We want a lot of people there, as it is a very important meeting, but people should realise there will be limited room inside.
“If people want to ask questions at the meeting then it is important they get there early. But if you are wanting to go to show your protest and to make a noise then please still come along, but you may be stood outside.”
A spokesman for the Clinical Commissioning Groups who have organised the consultation said the purpose of the public meetings was to have a short presentation about the proposed changes followed by a question and answer session.
“To ensure as many people have access as possible, the meetings will be live streamed to help anyone who cannot attend hear directly what is said. Anyone who wishes to view the stream should download Periscope for Twitter from the App store for iOS or Android.
“Follow us on Twitter@rcrtrp and you will be notified automatically that we are broadcasting live.”
After the Halifax meeting, campaigners took to social media to express their concerns.
Helen Kingston: Unfortunately the meeting Calderdale this evening was...well it was a sham if I’m honest. Questions were not sufficiently answered - a point I raised before I asked my question that they said they couldn’t answer!!)
Helen Auty: I think they are doing these consultations purely for show, because they have to do them. I hope I’m wrong, but don’t think they give a monkeys what we think, after all, as I was told, ‘its not a vote’.
Bronwyn Wain: Surely they should have to answer the public who are affected by these proposed changes it stinks to be honest. It’s like a lot of questions that are put to politicians and they skirt around the question as I said it stinks for the want of a better word
Margaret Anne Newsome Georgiadou: What puzzles and appals me is how often we are told - we dont know yet, we’ll have to see how things develop - this is not a plan - it’s a guess.