A hospital which may absorb emergency patients from Huddersfield is struggling to cope with the number of ambulance cases it currently receives.
Ambulances containing patients – some of whom are seriously ill – have been queueing outside Royal Oldham Hospital as the hospital battles to find beds and doctors for them.
Between April 2015 and January this year there were 468 ‘black breaches’ – incidents where ambulance staff had to wait an hour or more to drop off their patients at the hospital.
And, according to figures obtained by Freedom of Information, there were 321 ‘level-six black breaches’ where ambulances had to wait 75 minutes or longer.
Indeed, in January there were 91 level-six black breaches, including 12 such incidents on January 25.
Emergency services will be centralised at Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax.
Huddersfield health chiefs behind the plan says they ‘do not anticipate any additional journeys to Royal Oldham Hospital would be generated under the proposals’.
But without full emergency services in Huddersfield, Oldham may have the nearest A&E for patients in outlying areas such as Slaithwaite, Marsden, Meltham and Holme village.
Indeed in an earlier interview with the Examiner, Dr Steve Ollerton, one of the Huddersfield NHS chiefs behind the plan, said it was going to ‘increase’ its contract with Royal Oldham.
Dr Ollerton, the clinical chair of Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Some of the patient flow analysis has said that we need to increase our number of beds in Oldham particularly.”
VIDEO: Dr Steve Ollerton speaks to David Himelfield
Greater Huddersfield CCG, one of the main organisations behind RCRTRP, said the beds could be used for planned or emergency care.
Since the A&E department at Rochdale Infirmary closed in April 2011, Royal Oldham has struggled to cope with the additional influx of 999 patients previously treated in Rochdale.
The figures were obtained by Holmfirth-based health campaigner Terry Hallworth.
Mr Hallworth said: “It is clear from these numbers that they are already in a desperate situation and not coping.
“Oldham is already moping up patients after the closure of Rochdale A&E.
“The question is: ‘Has the CCG consulted with adjoining district hospitals or simply made an assumption that they will take the additional emergencies?’”
Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust, which runs Royal Oldham Hospital, declined to comment on potential impacts that the closure of Huddersfield’s A&E would have on its hospital.
A spokeperson for the trust said: “We always aim to see and treat the patients attending our three A&E departments and urgent care centre as quickly as possible and give them the best possible care. Many trusts across the country are finding this a challenge at present, due to the large number of attendances and admissions.”