A GP behind a plan which could close Huddersfield’s A&E, has denied that Government cuts forced health chiefs into drafting the controversial proposal.
Dr Steve Ollerton refuted claims that he and other health chiefs behind the hospital shake-up were doing the Government’s bidding of cutting NHS costs.
Under the plan, Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) will be demolished and replaced with a new hospital, which will have an urgent care centre but crucially, no emergency department.
Emergency care will be centralised at Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH) which will be expanded from 400 to up to 700 beds.
The plans have led to huge protests in Huddersfield over the past few months, with hundreds at public meetings and thousands joining a rally and march in St George’s Square.
But Dr Ollerton said he would not have accepted his job, in which he earned over £115,000 in 2015/16, if it meant following Government diktats.
The Skelmanthorpe GP said: “You would not get me doing a job where some bigwig comes down and says: ‘I’m going to pay you a lot of money to do this’ because I’m not that kind of person.
“I’m doing this because I believe in it and it’s the right thing to do.”
Dr Ollerton, Chief Clinical Officer for Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Any CCG or trust in the land would tell you they would like more investment in the NHS.”
But he added: “We’re not being forced to do this because of that.”
Fellow CCG chief and Holmfirth GP, Dr David Hughes, added: “If we had more money we would still be looking at this sort of model.
“This sort of model, which I will absolutely stand up and defend, is going to be safer.
“It’s going to be safer for patients, more sustainable for the workforce.
“And when I say safer, I’m talking about reducing unnecessary admissions, improving the care of people who are admitted, reducing avoidable deaths and reducing the length of stay.”