A decision on whether full A&E services will remain at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary could be made as soon as September.
Huddersfield and Calderdale health bosses revealed a provisional timescale for their hospital shake-up plan in anticipation of a public consultation which is due to start later this month.
A document, outlining the public consultation, reveals that the governing body for Greater Huddersfield and Calderdale clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) could begin ‘decision making’ in September.
According to the document, a 14-week public consulation will be followed by a six-week period in which CCG chiefs will deliberate over findings of the consultation.
Kirklees and Calderdale councillors sitting on the councils’ joint health scrutiny committee will also have six weeks to review the CCGs’ findings.
The committee’s finding will then be considered by CCG chiefs for two weeks before the formal decision making takes place, in September.
However the public consultation, which had been pencilled to start on February 8, has been delayed until the end of the month feeding concerns that the remainder of the process will be delayed.
The consultation, in which the public can comment on the Right Care Right Time Right Place proposal, has been scheduled to start on February 22.
But health bosses are yet to confirm this or reveal a formal timescale.
Watch: Huddersfield people react to potential closure of HRI A&E
A CCGs spokesperson said: “The CCGs are working towards launching the public consultation later this month.
“A clear timeline will be identified when the consultation start date is known.”
If CCG chiefs opt for the Right Care Right Time Right Place (RCRTRP) plan, full emergency care services at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary could be lost and downgraded to an urgent care unit.
The nearest accident and emergency department would be at Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax, which will focus on emergency care.
The existing Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) will be demolished and a new hospital will be built next to the Acre Mills site which will focus on planned care.
Supporters of the #HandsOffHRI campaign were dismayed when it was announced that the new HRI would have 120 beds, compared to 400 at the existing hospital.