A former MP who went to the High Court to save his local A&E, has issued a warning to Huddersfield health bosses and campaigners.

Rochdale Infirmary’s A&E department was downgraded to an ‘urgent care centre’ and 999 cases were transferred to Royal Oldham Hospital in April 2011.

A month after the changeover two patients died while waiting in ambulances outside the over-stretched hospital.

And according to former Rochdale MP, Paul Rowen, the Oldham hospital has struggled to cope with emergencies from both Rochdale and Oldham ever since.

The Lib Dem former MP said: “Oldham’s A&E is not meeting the targets because it is overrun.

“There’s ambulances queuing outside. I don’t think they can cope.”

Mr Rowen said that since the change Rochdale Infirmary has been treated like a ‘second class’ hospital and has become neglected.

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The Rochdale hospital now has an urgent care unit. A similar unit, which deals with non-emergency cases, has been planned for Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

Mr Rowen said: “I tell people that I wouldn’t even bother going to Rochdale because they’ll just be sent to Oldham.

“The problem is the same with travel times and I forever see ambulances rushing to get people to Oldham.”

Mr Rowen, who was Rochdale MP between 2005 and 2010, criticised the local hospital trust for falling short on its plans for healthcare in Rochdale.

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Mr Rowen and Rochdale couple David and Lisa-Louise Fitton, the parents of a profoundly disabled son, fought a campaign to keep Rochdale’s A&E open, taking their battle to the High Court.

But after their bid failed in 2007, Mr Rowen has some advice for campaigners hoping to save Huddersfield’s A&E.

He said: “You can only overturn it if the process is flawed.

“They need to get examples of the way things are planned and how they have been wrong.

“Look at ambulance waiting times and how many people are on a trolley in an ambulance waiting to be seen.”