Politicians from all parties have united in the fight to save Huddersfield’s A&E department.
Tory Jason McCartney, the Colne Valley MP, and Labour’s Paula Sherriff, MP for Dewsbury, both spoke to the thousands of protesters at the rally on Saturday.
And Mr McCartney said: “I don’t care what your political persuasion is. Today, we are all united together in one aim, to save our A&E.
“For me it’s personal. I live in Honley. My mum and dad live in Holmbridge. I fear for them and all their neighbours.
“If we lose our A&E lives will be put at risk.
WATCH Huddersfield union chief Paul Cooney speak at the rally above
“I am working with all MPs of all parties and we are working together all the time. If we stay united we can save our A&E.”
And Paula said: “I worked in the NHS for 13 years before becoming an MP.
“We have an opportunity and we can do this if we all stick together.
“We are doing everything we can in Parliament and we are constantly haranguing the Prime Minister, and others.
“There is nothing stronger than people power. We can do this.”
Other speakers included Kirklees Council leader David Sheard, who said: “This is not political, this is personal. It’s our NHS and we have to defend it.
“We need somewhere local where everyone can go when they need some help. This is not just about the A&E, it’s about the NHS.
“We have to save every part of our NHS and make it work.”
And Dr Jackie Grunsell, a Newsome GP who served as a Kirklees councillor between 2006 and 2010 representing the now defunct Save Huddersfield NHS party, said: “What is happening is part of a wider crisis in the NHS.”
She said a major factor is the crippling debt from the PFI deal behind Calderdale Royal Hospital.
“I don’t think companies should be allowed to make profit out of ill health and people suffering.
“The whole of the NHS is being sold off piece by piece to the private sector.
“The public sector is being set up to fail. We need a different way of running the NHS. It needs to be accountable to ordinary people.”
She said the turnout at the rally was “amazing”.
“If they don’t listen to this I don’t know what they’ll listen to.
“We need to get involved in the consultation process, flawed as it may be.
“We need to make a legal challenge to this rotten deal.
“It’s our NHS and it’s not for sale.”