Planned operations and clinics are less likely be cancelled due to emergencies if a controversial hospital shake-up plan goes ahead.

Health bosses claim that under Right Care Right Time Right Place, Huddersfield’s new hospital will focus on ‘planned care’ while Calderdale Royal Infirmary (CRH), Halifax, will centre on emergency care.

Under the current set-up, planned operations are sometimes cancelled when a surgeon is needed for an emergency procedure.

By separating their services disruption to planned operations will be reduced, says Jo Middleton, assistant director of nursing for surgery at the trust which runs Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) and CRH.

Ms Middleton said: “We know at the moment that patients who are due to have surgery can sometimes have their operation cancelled at the last minute.

“This may be because there may be because there is an emergency, meaning the theatre is needed for urgent surgery; or because we don’t have enough beds available for our surgical patients due to the number of medical admissions.

“Having a separate centre means that patients’ surgery is much more likely to go ahead as planned, with a shorter length of stay in hospital, in fantastic new facilities which offer a much better patient experience.”

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So what is ‘planned care’ and what will a newly built HRI be like?

Further details of the new hospital have been revealed in Have You Say, a document released in anticipation of a public consultation on RCRTRP.

Planned care – currently called ‘elective care’ – is a procedure or treatment that is not urgent and is often booked in advance.

This can include planned surgery and tests together with outpatient clinics and routine appointments.

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Some planned care may require a few days’ stay in hospital.

RCRTRP proposes a smaller HRI with 119 beds – the hospital currently has 400 beds – and 10 operating theatres.

The hospital, which will sit next to the hospital trust’s Acre Mills complex, will continue to offer outpatient clinics for adults and children.

HRI/Acre Mills from above
HRI/Acre Mills from above

Although some of these clinics will be moved out of the hospitals and into local health centres and GP surgeries.

‘Have Your Say’, a document released in anticipation of a public consultation on RCRTRP, says: “There are more treatments and procedures that can now take place in outpatient clinics and we would be hoping to provide more outpatient clinics in the community and we would be looking at using technology, for example to have consultations by video or telephone.”

Health bosses also aim to reduce the number of ‘unnecessary’ appointments.

The document says: “We would also be looking to reduce the number of outpatient follow-up appointments that take place when these aren’t really necessary.

“We know that currently many hospital attendances are for outpatient review appointments.”