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Hands off HRI: Emotions run high as campaigners meet for the first time

Huddersfield folk speak up about need for local services

Emotions ran high as members of the public met to plan action to save Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

Runner Sean Doyle choked back the tears as he spoke passionately about how the hospital had saved his life.

And many members of the public were moved to speak up about their determination to defeat health bosses’ plans to move emergency services to Halifax.

Speaking at the meeting at Huddersfield Methodist Mission, one young woman said the only way to get mental health crisis help out-of-hours was to go to A&E.

She said: “How are we supposed to get a six-foot-tall, 17-year-old lad in a mental health crisis, suffering severe panic attacks, to Calderdale?”

Sean Doyle, of Brockholes, told the 500 strong crowd he was “94% dead” when he was rushed to the infirmary’s A&E following a cardiac arrest.

Sean, who was taking part in the Huddersfield Parkrun in Greenhead Park when he collapsed, said he “would have been dead” if he’d been airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary.

READ MORE: #HandsOffHRI: Passionate speeches at packed first meeting of Let's Save Huddersfield A&E campaign

Recalling the traumatic incident, Sean told the meeting: “I’m one lucky individual. Please give it all and support the campaign, like they saved me.”

Dr Adnan Muhamed, a former consultant paediatrician at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, said a lot of doctors might feel it doesn’t matter if the A&E is only five or six miles away.

“This is not correct,” he claimed. “If you or me lose half-a-pint of blood then perhaps we would survive.

“But for children to lose even half of that, it could be a matter of death or life.

“I’ve seen it many times, I’ve been involved many times resuscitating children.


SAVE HRI A&E poster

“I know many children who are alive, thank goodness, because there is a local service.

“So it does matter. We need to get a good, well equipped, well staffed A&E department.”

Young people’s representatives also expressed anger and concern at the potential removal of a full A&E department in Huddersfield.

Jenny Goldman, from Holme and Colne Valley Youth Forum, said: “Young people need their A&E. One 15-year-old said to me if anything happens to me or my friends we would have to be on buses for nearly two hours.”

Liane Hunter, from Huddersfield University Students’ Union, said it was “absolutely diabolical” that students hadn’t been considered by health chiefs.

“We’ve got numerous amount of students that take placements at A&E and in the midwifery departments.

“They’re already facing bursary cuts. Does that mean courses are going to stop?”

READ MORE: Huddersfield to Calderdale Royal Hospital in rush hour — watch the frustrating journey ambulances may have to take

She added: “We are clumsy, we like to go out, we do need an A&E, it’s vital for us.”

Mike Forster, a Unison rep who led the campaign to stop HRI’s maternity department moving to Halifax and the bid to save Dewsbury’s A&E, said: “Why did we lose (those fights)?

“The reason we lost is because there weren’t enough of us.

“Six hundred of us marched from the hospital 10 years ago, 2,000 marched around town.

“Please do something yourself.

“This is not a done deal. We can win.”

READ MORE: MP Barry Sheerman says health bosses told him to be quiet about plan to close HRI A&E

Erin Hill, a Labour councillor for Kirklees, congratulated people on the huge response against the proposals.

“I’ve been involved in quite a lot of campaigns and it is rare to see people pulling together like I know they have for this,” she said.

“It’s long been my belief that if we fail to take an interest in events and in politics and in the actions of our authority figures then all we’re doing is walking blindfolded into decisions that other people have made for us.”



Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent