Hospital chiefs want to close one of the local A&E units as part of a £50m savings plan.

Plans to completely re-model health care in Kirklees and Calderdale were aired in public for the first time at a public meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall.

And the possibility that either Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) or Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH) could lose its A&E department was confirmed.

The proposal hinges on a plan to have one specialist emergency hospital and one specialist hospital for planned care across the two authorities.

The loss of one A&E unit would then be mitigated by increased specialist care at Holme Valley Memorial Hospital and at Todmorden.

Another option includes downgrading both A&Es and relying on a major unit further afield, possibly Leeds.

Huddersfield and Calderdale A&E options to be revealed  

But Barbara Crosse, medical director of the two hospitals, said they favoured retaining the Huddersfield A&E department for clinical, logistical and geographic reasons.

Health chiefs say nothing has been decided yet but have admitted that retaining services as they are is “unlikely”.

The proposal will go out to public consultation this summer.

Union leaders said they would demand to see evidence that the plan would benefit patients and expressed concern that it would allow more private companies into the NHS.

Colne Valley MP, Jason McCartney, said he completely opposed the plan and would fight to keep things as they are.

Mr McCartney said: “This is reminiscent of what happened to maternity services where you have one downgraded and one all singing and dancing.

“I want quality local health care as close to the door as possible.

“I want no change and that’s why I will campaign for and fight for it.

“People at the trust see Calderdale and Huddersfield as one hospital across two sites and are asking why duplicate it.

“But I’m a localist and I would say no, no, no to this as a preferred option.”

The ambitious proposal is not just about A&E – it is aiming to vastly reduce the amount of people admitted to hospital and provide more community care and “self care”.

About 22,000 people found themselves in hospital in 2013 of which more than half only spent one night.

Dr Steve Ollerton, a GP and clinical leader of Greater Huddersfield CCG, said: “Many of those could be dealt with in a better way and if I had seen them a couple of days earlier perhaps admission to hospital could have been avoided.”

Dr Ollerton added: “We’re well aware of a need to transform our health and social care system.

“This is the exciting bit where we can actually get to change things.

“The hospitals are a small part of it for a few very ill people.

“90% of the people we deal with are in the community and they never go to hospital.

“That’s how it should be but I think we can up that percentage.

“Our level of hospital care is very high and we should be dealing with more people in the community.“

Mrs Crosse said they hoped to provide complex care closer to home seven days a week, fewer ward moves and specialists available seven days a week.

She said: “If you’re really sick you need to be able to get to a place that specialises in the care you need.

“This plan will improve their chances of survival and a good recovery.”

The plan also includes an increased use of computers to assess patients via webcams.

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