A public consultation on a plan which could close Huddersfield’s A&E department has been pencilled to start on February 8.

But Huddersfield and Halifax NHS chiefs are yet to detail the length or format of the consultation.

The provisional date was revealed before a Kirklees Council health scrutiny panel on Friday.

READ MORE: Huddersfield Town's Dean Hoyle urges rethink on A&E shake-up

The public consultation, which will include several public meetings, must last at least 12 weeks.

But Kirklees and Calderdale councillors on the panel agreed that the consultation should last longer due to huge scale and complexity of the Right Care Right Time Right Place plan.

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Councillors also agreed that February 8 was too soon a date to begin the consultation.

A 39-page draft document outlining it was released on Friday morning.

Sowerby Bridge councillor Adam Wilkinson said: “We’ve only just today received the consultation document, half an hour before the meeting – it’s not enough.

“February 8 doesn’t leave much time to take on board any comments we have on this consultation document.”

Campaigners hoping to keep Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’s A&E department open urged the panel to block the consultation.

They encouraged the councillors to refer the proposal to the Health Secretary who can ask the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to make recommendations.

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Calderdale NHS campaigner Jenny Shepherd said: “Use your power to stop this consultation plan now.

“The Right Care Right Time Right Place (RCRTRP) is not fit for purpose and will damage NHS services that the people of Huddersfield and Calderdale rely on.

“Both councils have found the RCRTRP proposals are not fit for purpose for the people of Calderdale or Kirklees.”

READ MORE: If Huddersfield A&E closes there will be 157 MORE DEATHS each year, MPs warn

Paul Cooney, chairman of Huddersfield Keep Our NHS Public, added that Greater Huddersfield and Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) – the local NHS organisations behind the plan – had failed to answer about 300 questions lodged by the public before a meeting on January 20.

Mr Cooney asked the panel to note ‘the abject failure of the CCGs’ governing body to fulfil its commitment.’

He said: “At 9.20 this morning they had not been answered.”

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