HEALTH chiefs have been accused of snubbing calls for a public meeting over the future of St Luke’s Hospital.
And it is a blow for people who rely on mental health services in Huddersfield.
Colne Valley Labour Parliamentary candidate Debbie Abrahams, has called for a public meeting to address concerns over the closure of St Luke’s Hospital in Crosland Moor.
She wrote to the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the site, urging that beds for mental health patients in Huddersfield should not be lost to Calderdale and Dewsbury.
She said: “I cannot reveal the contents of the Trust’s letter because it is headed Private and Confidential, but I think their attitude is disgraceful.
“They have confirmed that St Luke’s will shut in December and if alternative premises cannot be found, inpatient services will be moved to Calderdale and Dewsbury.
“They say that this transfer will be an interim one, but it could become permanent.
“I asked in my letter to the Trust that if the move from the Huddersfield area is temporary, that a timetable be provided for their return.
“Under the NHS Act of 2006 the Trust should engage with service users and the public about the changes. This is something they have failed to do.”
The stroke rehabilitation ward, which shared the St Luke’s site, has already been moved to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI).
Also moving to the infirmary are the Barton Rehabilitation Centre, Neurology outpatients, neurophysiology outpatients, wheelchair services, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, the X-ray service and the pharmacy.
A timescale for the move has not yet been revealed.
The Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, which runs the infirmary, was also unable to provide the Examiner with an answer as to what would happen to the St Luke’s site which they own, and why services must be shut by the December deadline.
Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, said she was very concerned by the move.
She said: “It is deeply troubling that Huddersfield may lose its only inpatient centre for people with serious mental illness.
“Patients who are moved to alternative sites risk becoming isolated from their families and loved ones, while others may lose the chance to find refuge when they need it most.
“Psychiatric units remain an integral part of our mental healthcare system, yet despite all the investment, we have lost 35,000 beds across the country in the last 20 years.”