HEALTH bosses have voted in favour of ALL the proposed changes to hospital services in Huddersfield.
Planned surgery, maternity, gynaecology and children's services will be shifted from Huddersfield Royal Infirmary to Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax.
St Luke's Hospital at Crosland Moor will also close and the site will be sold off.
The long-awaited decision was made by board members of the Calderdale Huddersfield South and Central Primary Care Trusts after a tense, day-long meeting at the Galpharm Stadium yesterday.
The changes are to be phased in over the next three to five years.
Huddersfield South and Central Primary Care Trusts' chief executive Kevin Holder thinks the right decisions were made.
Mr Holder - who voted in favour of all the resolutions - said: "Is it the right decision? Yes, I believe it is.
"I would not have voted for it personally if I didn't believe in it.
"I am a Huddersfield resident and want the highest quality services for myself and every other person as well.
"I understand that people want to keep everything as it is but health services need to be modernised to meet the challenges of the future.
"Without change we could lose services to other areas.
"We want to make sure services are safe, effective and delivered in the most appropriate place.
"We are committed to working with local communities, stakeholders and partners to implement changes in a planned way, over time.
"It is about taking difficult decisions to improve safety.
"There are risks in the system at the moment that people have not necessarily acknowledged."
He said this included not having enough obstetric and anaesthetist cover on maternity wards between the two hospitals to satisfy clinical insurance guidelines.
He said the changes would improve care in the community and at both hospitals.
He said: "It is about a whole range of services, not just maternity, especially improving community services."
Mr Holder said the board had listened to the public's views and taken into account a petition with more than 45,000 signatures opposing the move of services to Halifax.
He said smaller petitions about maternity services were also noted.
He added that overall he felt Huddersfield was not losing out.
He said: "There are more beds in Huddersfield under these proposals than before.
"There are more beds being lost in Calderdale than here and more people travelling from Calderdale to Huddersfield than the other way round."
The Royal Infirmary will provide services for adults and older people with mental health problems, currently treated at St Luke's.
The Infirmary will also be used for all emergency inpatient orthopaedics and emergency general surgery, as well as complex planned surgery and emergency paediatric surgery.
There will be a 24-hour paediatric assessment and an observation unit for children needing a short stay.
But Netherton GP Jackie Grunsell, leader of the campaign group opposing the changes, said the board had shown contempt for local people.
She said: "They make me sick, to be honest. I think it's a disgrace.
"They should be ashamed of themselves. They are putting profit before people.
"They have completely disregarded what the majority of people feel, not just patients but staff.
"We are extremely angry about it and feel that we just haven't been listened to.
"These people sit in their ivory towers and take decisions. They can afford private medical assistance and have no problems with transport.
"They have no idea about the lives of ordinary people and the problems they face with healthcare.
"We are going to continue this fight."
Campaigners who had fought against the plans for months voiced their disgust as the votes were taken.
Protester Rene Thomas (pictured) circled the panel, pointing his finger and shouting "Shame" at those members who voted in favour of moving maternity services.
Hazel Wigmore - a non-executive director on the Huddersfield Central Primary Care Trust - had asked the board to amend one of the resolutions so that maternity and special care baby facilities could stay in Huddersfield.
Kirklees Clr Mehboob Khan - also a non-executive director for the PCT - seconded the move.
Clr Khan said: "The massive response of local residents on this issue shows that there is a need for us to go back to the drawing board."
But just five people voted to support the amendment.