A mother, who underwent surgery to save her from a life-threatening pregnancy complication, has urged hospital bosses not to close emergency prenatal services at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

Lindley councillor and mum-of-three Gemma Wilson, who also suffered several miscarriages, described a plan to transfer emergency gynaecology services to Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax, as ‘absolutely horrific’.

Hospital bosses are also hoping to move early pregnancy assessment services to CRH between October and December.

This means that women experiencing dangerous pregnancy complications will be treated at the Halifax hospital.

Such complications can include vaginal bleeding and ectopic pregnancy, a potentially fatal condition where the fertilised egg comes to rest in the fallopian tubes rather than the womb.

Clr Wilson, who was a ‘regular at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’s (HRI) Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit, said: “It’s absolutely horrific.

Local election count, Cathedral House, Huddersfield. Gemma Wilson.

“I found it hard with the current set-up. If that goes it’s awful.”

While the move is not part of the Right Care Right Time Right Place (RCRTRP plan, it has sparked further concern that HRI is being downgraded.

Under RCRTRP, HRI will lose its A&E and focus on ‘planned care’, while full emergency care services will be centralised at CRH.

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Bosses of Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust (CHFT), which runs both hospitals, say patients are ‘willing’ to travel to Halifax for emergency gynaecology and early pregnancy assessments.

This following a ‘comprehensive engagement report’ and approval from Kirklees health scrutiny councillors.

A document, presented by CHFT Director of Nursing Julie Dawes, said: “The report showed that service users and potential service users were willing to go to Calderdale for care and treatment for these emergency services.”

Julie Dawes, Director of Nursing at Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust
Julie Dawes, Director of Nursing at Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust

But Clr Wilson, who suffered an ectopic pregnancy, said: “There’s a difference between choice and willingness.

“If you think you’re having a miscarriage you’re probably ‘willing’ to have that care wherever it is.

“But I completely dispute that definition – I’m not willing to have that care at Halifax.”

Clr Wilson, 35, of Birchencliffe, added: “The treatment I received at HRI was first-class. The staff there were really supportive.

“Fortunately my husband drives but not everyone does and to have that extra pain of having to go to Halifax... I’m stunned and appalled.”

The closure of consultant-led maternity services, for women expecting complicated births, were moved to CRH almost 10 years ago.

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The move sparked a march in Huddersfield town centre only surpassed in size by a rally last Saturday, protesting at the potential closure of Huddersfield’s A&E under RCRTRP.

Martin DeBono, CHFT consultant gynaecologist and Divisional Director for Family and Specialist Services, said: “We sought the views of patients and the public last summer before planning to make any changes.

“The reason for moving the service was to provide safer, more compassionate care for our patients. In particular, we needed to provide a more appropriate location and better facilities for women who are potentially going to lose their baby so that they are not sharing the same waiting rooms as women who are progressing with their pregnancy.

“Before, the service was only available for a few hours at each site. Merging them onto one site means the care is available for longer hours making it more accessible to more patients and in a purpose-built modern unit for gynaecological emergencies.”