TRUSTEES of a major Huddersfield health charity have branded a hospital boss's comments as "ignorant" and "disrespectful".
Trustees of the Breast Clinic Appeal, which raised £250,000 to help create a breast cancer ward at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary in 1996, said they were "horrified" by a statement from Ben Edwards, the hospital trust's assistant director for surgical and anaesthetic services in last Thursday's Examiner.
Mr Edwards said that the ward, named the Exley Breast Care Suite, had never been used exclusively for breast cancer patients in the 10 years of its existence.
He added that such a small number of inpatient beds were needed by breast cancer patients that women: "had always been co-located with other services."
And he revealed that the trust currently did not have any dedicated inpatient breast facilities at the royal infirmary or the Calderdale Royal Hospital.
But the appeal trustees, including Bernard Ainsworth OBE, Dr Ron Jameson and John Woodhead, said they hoped his ignorance was not shared by other hospital bosses.
In a letter the trustees say: "The deal was that a dedicated six-bed breast cancer ward would be created in addition to a brand new oncology unit.
"Make no mistake about it, at that time the Exley Suite was a dedicated breast cancer unit.
"If, over the years, the trust, has continuously disrespected that fact, and until recently has increasingly housed ladies undergoing breast surgery in other non-specialised wards, ignoring Calman Hyne, then they must answer for that."
The fundraisers were invited by the hospital trust to fund half the cost of refurbishing a ward exclusively for breast cancer patients in 1994.
The aim was to enable the infirmary to meet the requirements of Calman Hyne, the report driving cancer care at the time.
Fundraisers said last week they felt betrayed by the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, which runs the infirmary, as major breast surgery will be transferred from Huddersfield to the Calderdale Royal Hospital - only 10 years after the Exley Breast Care Suite was created.
But they were further enraged when Mr Edwards revealed that the unit had never been used exclusively for breast cancer patients any way.
And it was "unlikely" they would have taken on the fundraising task had they known originally.
A trust spokesmansaid: "We are aware of the issues raised by the trustees of the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary Breast Cancer Appeal and we would, as ever, be more than happy to meet with them to discuss them in detail."