Health chiefs will meet today to decide if plans to close Huddersfield A&E and potentially demolish the hospital are ready to go to public consultation.
Life-threatening cases will be treated at Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax, while a newly- built Huddersfield Royal Infirmary will tackle less serious cases – if a hospital shake-up plan goes ahead.
Today's meeting is not to decide if the shake-up will happen — but to see if plans are ready to be revealed to the public for feedback.
Here's everything you need to know:
Where and when is the meeting?
It’s at Briar Court Hotel, Halifax Road, Birchencliffe, today (Wednesday January 20), at 1.30pm.
What will be discussed?
Health chiefs will decide whether the Right Care Right Time Right Place plan is ready to go to public consultation. They will NOT be deciding if the plan is to go ahead.
Can I attend?
You can but there are only 80 places for the public in the Briar Suite.
Can I speak?
Only if you’ve filed a question – and the deadline for that has passed. Bear in mind there’s only 10 minutes timetabled for public questions and comments.
Students to protest against 'ridiculous' plan
Students from the University of Huddersfield are to demonstrate over planned A&E changes in the town.
The Huddersfield Students’ Union will protest at the public NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG meeting on Wednesday afternoon, when the proposed transfer of some A & E services from the Royal Infirmary will be discussed.
TheY will lobby members of the CCG which has proposed a consultation on removing much of the accident and emergency department at Huddersfield and for Calderdale Royal Hospital to be the main hospital in the area for emergency treatment.
Students’ Union President Mike McGougan said: “We have serious concerns about this move, primarily due to the fact that we believe that the impact of this change on the 20,000 students we represent has not been considered – neither students nor the university is mentioned in the entire document outlining the changes.
“It’s ridiculous. So many people will be affected by this - students, families and friends. The impact on our students is massive and I will lead our student body in fighting against this”.
Vice President Wellbeing and Equalities, Alysia Ford, added “This is another cut to services that will affect students, especially after our on-campus health centre had its funding cut, affecting sexual and mental health support - two of the most well-used services for students.”’
Nurses union criticise A&E closure plan
Nurses have criticised health bosses over plans to close Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’s accident and emergency department.
The Royal College of Nursing, which represents many hundreds of local nurses, said there had been a ‘lack of constructive and collaborative planning’ between Huddersfield and Halifax NHS chiefs and their counterparts at neighbouring Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust (MYHT).
Earlier this month, MYHT announced it was considering ‘downgrading’ its A&E at Dewsbury District Hospital, nine months earlier than planned.
Resident Arnold Wood reacts to closure plan
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Yorkshire Regional Director, Sarah Dodsworth, said: “The RCN is concerned about the timing of this announcement and the potential impact on patient safety and care right across West Yorkshire.
“There does not appear to have been adequate open and meaningful consultation in the lead up to the announcement.
“It seems from the timing that there has also been a lack of constructive and collaborative planning alongside the neighbouring MYHT, which has also recently made public a decision to bring forward its own reorganisation of acute services.
“Downgrading two A&E sites within such close proximity at a time when all of the region’s casualty and emergency departments are under immense pressure has no logic to it and we are struggling to see evidence that patient safety has been prioritised.”
The RCN said it would be examining the long-term financial implications – including the impact on jobs and contracts – as well as patient safety issues.
Ms Dodsworth added: “Many staff will be feeling worried and uncertain about the future of the services they provide and both the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and the trust must reassure staff about their plans.
“It is absolutely essential that the CCGs undertake a full and meaningful consultation over their plans and ensure that they genuinely engage with those responsible for delivering frontline patient care and their representatives. It must not be a mere paper exercise.
“We’d urge RCN members, hospital and primary care staff and local people to take every opportunity to get involved in the consultation, speak to their local elected representatives and make sure that they have their say.”
The Examiner will be liveblogging this afternoon's meeting.