HUDDERSFIELD'S special care baby unit is facing the axe.
Under plans to shake up the town's hospital services, it emerged today that the specialist unit will go.
All neonatal care at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary - including three intensive care cots and 11 for special baby care - will be cut if proposals put forward by health chiefs get the go-ahead.
The move has angered fundraisers, who have campaigned for more than 25 years to raise thousands of pounds to provide the unit with life-saving equipment.
Under the proposals, cots at the Infirmary will be centralised at the Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax.
Poorly babies born in Huddersfield will have to be taken to Halifax for special care.
The news comes just days after the Examiner revealed similar plans for the pioneering breast cancer unit at the Infirmary - again funded by thousands of generous people in Huddersfield.
Jane Fairbank, 47, whose 22-year- old daughter, Katie, fought for her life in the unit after being born 10 weeks prematurely, called for the move to be halted.
Mrs Fairbank, of Crosland Road, Oakes, said: "It was bad enough as it was, never mind having to go to Halifax. It was an extremely stressful time.
"We travelled from Cowlersley every day to see her for 10 weeks.
"But we had the dedication of all the staff. You can't put a price on those nurses."
Mrs Fairbank said her family had raised hundreds of pounds for the unit over the years.
She added: "I am very sad and angry, because of all the money people have put in to buy equipment and to help keep it going.
"This is very wrong. They should leave it alone."
At present, 28 cots - six of them for intensive care - are provided across the two sites.
But under the changes, only 24 spaces will be made available in Halifax.
The six intensive care cots across the area covered by the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust will remain, but will also be centralised in Halifax.
Dr Gill Sharpe, the trust's consultant paediatrician, said: "Under the current arrangements, our resources are spread too thinly across both sites.
"We do not have enough doctors with the expertise in neonatal care to provide cover on both sites.
"This means there are times on both units when the doctor on call for the service does not have the specialist skills in neonatal care.
"The proposals would help strengthen our neonatal provision, improve medical cover and ensure very ill babies are treated in a safe, highly specialised unit."
She said the move would allow services to be provided locally, instead of being in Leeds or Bradford.
It would allow Halifax to become a major provider of neonatal care across Yorkshire and would make sure staff were seeing enough sick newborn babies for the unit to maintain its accreditation.
Dr Sharpe added: "If we continue with two separate units our intensive care accreditation will be withdrawn and all local babies requiring intensive care will have to be transferred to other centres, such as Leeds and Bradford."
Campaigners successfully fought to save the Royal Infirmary's special baby unit from a proposed move to Halifax in 1999, supported by the Examiner's Born and Bred campaign.