The founder of a campaign to save Huddersfield’s A&E has urged the town to get behind the biggest demonstration in a generation.
And Karl Deitch, who founded the Let's Save Huddersfield A&E campaign — which uses the hashtag #HandsOffHRI — is urging adults, children and even pets to join the march around Huddersfield town centre.
The march is expected to be the biggest in a generation, eclipsing a huge protest against the closure of consultant-led maternity services at HRI, 10 years ago.
Karl said: “It’s imperative for people to come to this rally and support your cause.
“It’ll be a family environment. There’ll be no politics and no agendas, just the #HandsOffHRI campaign.”
Karl decided to start a Facebook group after learning that health chiefs were planning to move emergency care services to Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH), Halifax.
Karl, 36, of Golcar, said: “I sat there at lunchtime with my ham sandwich setting up a Facebook page.
“Within 10 minutes we had 500 members and by midnight there were 10,000.
“I’d had no experience doing campaigns before.”
Karl, a self-employed alarm fitter, said he had to act in light of the services which HRI had already lost.
He said: “Huddersfield lost its consultant-led maternity and its paediatrics. Take the A&E away and what have you got?”
The dad-of-four added: “If you’re feeling ill but you’re not sure whether it’s an emergency or urgent care, you’re going to go to CRH because it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Hospital chiefs say by concentrating emergency care at Halifax and planned care at Huddersfield, people will receive better care.
But Karl believes this is cover for a plan primarily designed to offset the costs of a crippling PFI deal, which was used to build CRH.
Karl said: “I don’t believe it will provide better care; it’s all a cost-cutting exercise.
“It’s not fair to have to pay someone else’s debt off.
“We’re paying for it in a big way that’s going to cost lives.”
Karl added: “You can’t put a price on lives.”
Campaign #HandsOffHRI is currently fundraising – the rally will be followed by a gig at the Blue Rooms, Byram Arcade and a masquerade ball at The Rock Inn, Holywell Green.
It is also looking for a lawyer.
If you can help, search ‘Let’s Save Huddersfield A&E’ on Facebook.