If Right Care Right Time Right Place goes ahead we know that Huddersfield and Halifax will share an A&E.
But as campaigners, GPs and health scrutiny councillors have pointed out there’s a lot we DON’T know about the most radical shake-up of the local NHS in a generation.
Here’s a few of the key questions we’d like answering.
1) What happens if our local NHS don’t get the full £490m?
Dr Steve Ollerton joked to me that he’d ‘panic’ if that happened.
But pressing on with an already controversial plan when you haven’t got enough cash isn’t funny.
Our health service is being squeezed like never before and NHS England, which is overseeing the project, is likely to be as tight-fisted as possible.
There is no guarantee Huddersfield and Halifax will get the full amount.
We’d like to see details of a contingency plan if that substantial spanner is chucked into the works.
2) What are the travel times from outlying areas of Huddersfield (and Calderdale)?
Local NHS chiefs believe people living in areas at a considerable distance from Calderdale Royal Hospital will not be adversely affected by the plan.
But they do not have basic information such as ambulance travel times from these areas.
A joint Kirklees and Calderdale health scrutiny committee has now demanded this information.
3) How will ‘community’ health services meet the extra demand as fewer services are carried out in hospitals?
But community health services, such as GP surgeries, are facing massive cuts of their own.
We need to know where the resources for this are coming from – or if this is mere pie in the sky.
4) How will the expanded Calderdale Royal Hospital cope with the increase in patients and vehicles?
The building work will take place on the existing site and there will be multi-storey car parks to cope with the extra vehicles.
But we won’t know what it will actually look like for at least a couple of years.
Will sections of the CRH campus, which are currently under-used, be demolished and replaced?
Will the existing hospital be extended vertically or horizontally?
We’d love to know.
5) How will the new Huddersfield hospital be financed?
It’s going to be a loan, that’s for sure.
But we have no idea what the terms of that loan will be.
I’m sure Huddersfield and Calderdale NHS chiefs will be keen to avoid another crippling PFI, such as the one used to build CRH.
But we don’t know how strong health bosses’ bargaining position will be when they approach their investors.
The future of Huddersfield A&E