Hospital chiefs may have to explain their unpopular plans for Huddersfield Royal Infirmary in court.
Lawyers acting for Hands Off HRI (HoHRI) have applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the controversial plan to move most of Huddersfield’s hospital services to Calderdale.
If they agree, a full hearing will be held with a specialist judge probing whether the shake-up is lawful.
If judicial review is successful the plan would have to be altered or could even be quashed.
Yogi Amin, the lawyer representing the HoHRI group, said: “We believe that the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has produced a flawed business case which does not present all the necessary evidence or follow the government guidelines.
“The effect of seeing through these plans could not only be millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money being used, but also the closure of much needed acute local NHS services.
“Local campaigners and professionals have argued that alternative local options based on the use of existing resources should have been considered as opposed to the current proposed plan which would see hundreds of patients every month transported from the Huddersfield facility to Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax.”
A spokesman from HoHRI said: “This is a long and complicated road that we are taking to challenge the proposed changes to take away our much needed local hospital services in Huddersfield.
“We support the judicial review and we believe that the High Court will consider the case fairly.
“In the meantime we hope that no steps are taken to make any changes to the hospital services.
“The NHS Trust plans are opposed by local people and have yet to receive any funding or full backing from the government so we do not think that it would be fair to go ahead and move hospital services from Huddersfield to the CRH in Halifax.”
Owen Williams, Chief Executive of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust said: “The proposals in the Trust’s Full Business Case have been developed following local consultation and are designed to secure sustainable healthcare services into the future for the people of Huddersfield and Calderdale.
“We respect the rights of local people and campaigners to use the judicial process and have received a copy of the proceedings. We will carefully consider our response in due course.”
Its plans to radically re-structure services were first unveiled in 2014 – which at the time saw Calderdale set to lose its A&E with Huddersfield the main site.
But in early 2016 the proposal was reversed to focus the majority of care at Calderdale Royal.
Hospital chiefs inability to get out of a restrictive PFI mortgage on the Halifax site is thought to be at the heart of the u-turn.
Its current plans – as published in its Full Business Case – will see it expand CRH to 674 beds to deliver emergency and critical care for both regions.
HRI will be demolished and a small “planned care” facility for minor operations will be built at Acre Mills.
While the Huddersfield site would have an Urgent Care Centre with life saving facilities, serious life threatening cases would be transferred to other sites.
Hospital chiefs say they will spend more than £300m completing the reconfiguration funded by a new private PF2 loan.