HEALTH chiefs deciding the future of Huddersfield hospital services have had only 100 responses from the public - despite a huge outcry.
And there are just three weeks to go before the vital consultation period ends.
Now there are calls for the thousands who have voiced their concerns over the plans to make them known direct to the health trusts.
The shock figures were revealed at a meeting of Huddersfield primary care trusts yesterday.
Project director Jo Bibby, leading the consultation, said: "We are getting letters in from people and have had about 100 so far.
"But we would expect more towards the end of the consultation period."
She said experts would be analysing the letters to identify the main concerns.
But she said the hundreds of letters printed in the Examiner would not form part of the decision-making process.
Thousands of Huddersfield people have denounced plans which could see key services - including some maternity, children's and women's services - moved from the Royal Infirmary to Halifax's Calderdale Royal Hospital.
They have signed a petition containing more than 25,000 signatures which will be handed to the Calderdale and Huddersfield's Primary Care Trusts.
More than 1,000 people took part in a protest march, with a second planned for January 14, but many have not put pen to paper.
And hundreds have swamped the letter bag of the Examiner with their concerns but have now been urged: Write to the health chiefs.
The plea for public action comes as health officials confirmed a final date to decide if plans to revamp hospital services will get the go-ahead.
Members of Huddersfield and Calderdale's primary care trusts - which commission hospital services - will meet on March 22 to determine if maternity, children's, gynaecology and planned surgical services should be moved to Halifax.
Bosses from the hospital trust itself will have no say in the final outcome, it emerged today.
The decision will be made after issues raised by a three-month public consultation - which ends on January 16 - are considered.
Kevin Holder, chief executive of Huddersfield's two PCTs, said: "The final decision will be made by the three PCT boards alone. The acute trust are not part of that decision.
"But we could not ask them to deliver contracts that are undeliverable.
"If we say, for example, that we wish to have obstetrics on both sites, providing we provide the resources and it is clinically acceptable, then they must deliver it."
His comments came at a meeting of Huddersfield's two PCTs yesterday.
A special panel - consisting of non-executive directors from Huddersfield and Calderdale's PCTs - has been set up to examine the main areas of concern relating to the proposals.
The group will look at the main objections put forward by the public.
They will also consider responses given by local clinicians to the issues raised.
All board members will then take part in a one-day workshop on March 1 before a final meeting is held on March 22 to vote on the proposals.
People can respond online at www.future.cht.nhs.uk or write to:
Looking to the Future,
c/o Calderdale PCT,