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Hands off HRI: Having A&E at Huddersfield - and closing Halifax A&E - could SAVE time in ambulance

Report commissioned by health bosses shows 1,200 ambulance hours would be saved if HRI has sole A&E

Having a single emergency care centre in Huddersfield – instead of Halifax – could save the number of hours critically ill patients spend in ambulances.

A travel report, commissioned by health chiefs behind the hospital shake-up plan, found that 1,200 ambulance hours per year could be saved if Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) had the area’s only emergency care unit.

Emergency ambulance crews will spend an extra 10,000 hours per year ferrying emergency cases to Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH), Halifax, if emergency services at HRI and Dewsbury District Hospital (DDH) close.

But the number of extra hours will be reduced to 8,800 if HRI keeps its emergency services, while A&E units at CRH and DDH close, according to the report produced by the NHS North of England Commissioning Support (NECS) Unit.

However health chiefs, behind the Right Care Right Time Right Place plan, have indicated their preference to close HRI’s A&E and enhance emergency care services at CRH.

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Under either scenario the closure of two local A&Es is forecast to put ‘significant’ pressure on an already stretched Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) and hospitals in neighbouring area.

Calderdale and Kirklees health campaigner Jenny Shepherd said the increased pressure on YAS and the remaining emergency care units could led to a ‘super meltdown’ in local NHS services.

Jenny Shepherd, Green candidate for Calder Valley

The report produced by the NHS North of England Commissioning Support (NECS) Unit says: “A reconfiguration of emergency care provision... which resulted in a single A&E site at CRH, with the assumption that there was no A&E provision at DDH, could potentially result in excess of 10,000 hours of increased journey time for YAS vehicles per year, under current demand within the system.

“It is likely that an increased burden in terms of A&E patients could fall on neighbouring hospitals providing A&E services, with the potential for significant increases at both Leeds General Infirmary and Barnsley District General (BDG).”

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The report adds: “A reconfiguration resulting in a single A&E site at HRI... could potentially produce around 8,800 extra hours of journey time for YAS, with demand at current levels.

“A resultant increased burden in terms of A&E patients could fall on neighbouring A&E providers, with possible significant increases at Bradford Royal Infirmary, BDG and Royal Blackburn Hospital.”

A spokesperson for the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) behind the hospital shake-up said: "The CCGs asked NECS to help them to understand the impact of the proposed changes.

"The analysis considered all ambulance journeys over a 12-month period across all locations, and then modelled the impact should either Huddersfield or Calderdale be the location for the emergency centre.

"This work concluded that there were no significant impacts on the change of journey time.

"Any decisions on whether or not a reconfigured hospital service would result in a requirement for additional ambulance resources would be managed through YAS contractual discussions.

"Consideration would also be given to reductions in ambulance journeys arising from a reduction in the significant number of transfers that occur between CRH and HRI sites on a daily basis at present."



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