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Hands Off HRI: 'Very poorly thought out' - GPs' verdict on plan which could close Huddersfield's A&E

Plan 'replicates error' made in Calderdale Royal Hospital PFI, GP committee says

Chairman and treasurer of Kirklees Local Medical Committee, Dr Richard Jenkinson

IT is a ‘poorly thought out’ plan that would ‘replicate’ the problems of a PFI that has been choking local hospitals’ finances.

That is the verdict of Kirklees Local Medical Committee, an organisation representing more than 200 GPs in the borough.

The Local Medical Committee (LMC) has delivered a damning verdict on the Right Care Right Time Right Place plan, which would close Huddersfield’s A&E.

Huddersfield and Calderdale NHS bosses behind the proposal, which will centralise emergency care at Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH), Halifax, are expected to decide if the plan goes ahead on Thursday.

But the LMC has said the plan is unsafe for patients and is likely to go ‘wildly’ over budget.

In a four-page open letter the LMC says: “We remain deeply sceptical and must reject them on the grounds of cost and safety.

“We also feel that the proposals are very poorly thought out and leave many more questions than they answer.”

The letter accuses health chiefs of ‘asset stripping’ Huddersfield’s NHS economy and putting the emergency care unit in the wrong town.

It says: “It requires further funding to be released by the demolishing of HRI and disposal of the remaining site. These will effectively asset strip Huddersfield of its resources.

“Considerable resources have already been spent upgrading HRI’s central heating and its surgical facilities. Indeed, more surgery is performed at HRI than CRH at present.”

The LMC slammed Greater Huddersfield and Calderdale CCGs, the NHS organisations behind the plan for failing to devise a strategy to enable community services to soak up the work that will no longer be carried out in hospitals.

The letter says: “It is surprising that Calderdale CCG do not have a primary care strategy as yet and that Greater Huddersfield’s primary care strategy is in the early stages of development.”

The LMC also questioned the impact of borrowing more money to build a new Huddersfield hospital on the Acre Mill site.

A high-interest PFI, deal signed in 1998, has been financially crippling the trust which manages HRI and CRH.

The letter says: “This plan simply replicates the errors made when Calderdale developed their PFI and borrowed money at high interest rates over 60 years.”



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