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HRI campaigners who asked to be on transport group told: Submit an FOI

Let's Save HRI campaigners brand CCG attitude as "ridiculous"

Huddersfield Royal Infirmary(Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

Huddersfield NHS bosses have responded bizarrely to a simple question.

Campaigners have revealed a curious reaction to their request to help with research work.

Let’s Save HRI – formerly Hands Off HRI – asked if it could be involved with the clinical commissioning groups’ (CCG) recently formed travel and transport group.

The group, chaired by Dr Mike Grady, who the Examiner revealed is set to earn £12,000 for just 20 days work, is set to analyse the travel implications of restructuring hospital services – principally moving emergency care to Halifax.

Hands Off HRI group have changed their name to 'avoid confusion'

But when Let’s Save HRI asked if they could be involved in the work, the CCG’s response was to refer the question to the Freedom of Information (FoI) department.

FoI requests are used for seeking information that has not yet been published in public.

Public sector organisations have 20 working days – or four weeks – to respond.

It is only about ten to 12 weeks until the CCG and hospital team is supposed to have finished its travel and transport work that will feed in to the final report about the hospital shake up.

Nicola Jowett, Let’s Save HRI’s campaign secretary, said: “I think this is ridiculous.

Nicola Jowett

“Why would a request to be involved need to be treated as a FOI request?

“There is supposed to be community representation so we should be allowed to at least feed into the group, unless of course they are cherry picking that representation.

“We even emailed the chair of the group to ask if he would meet with us, but he referred us back to the CCG’s team.”

The Examiner asked Greater Huddersfield CCG to explain the bizarre response, but it said it would not be appropriate to comment.

The so called ‘Final Business Case’, explaining the full details of the huge restructuring of Huddersfield and Calderdale hospitals, is expected by the end of July.

Councillors from Kirklees and Calderdale will be first to review it. Their combined Joint Health Scrutiny Committee has the power to approve it or raise concerns and refer it to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel – who in turn advise the Department for Health.

The Secretary of State for Health then makes a decision.

If the decision goes the wrong way, campaigners have vowed to launch a judicial review using funds raised by the community.

Meanwhile, the Labour party has also vowed to halt the potential downgrading of the infirmary if it gets into power.

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