MPS from both sides of the Commons were united in their determination to keep Huddersfield’s threatened A&E department open.
And Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney together with Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman had a few choice words for the forces and decision-makers behind the hospital shake-up plan.
Mr McCartney slammed the PFI agreement used to build Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax, as a ‘dodgy deal which is set to cost lives’.
Meanwhile Mr Sheerman said he was ‘not impressed’ with the Huddersfield NHS chiefs behind the plan.
Opening the debate in Westminster Hall, Conservative Mr McCartney said: “We are set to lose our A&E in Huddersfield as the PFI money makers stuff their pockets.”
Addressing Health Minister Ben Gummer, Mr McCartney added: “All our community thinks that both Huddersfield and Halifax require and deserve excellent A&E services.
“But these decisions should be based on saving more lives, improving experiences and delivering better outcomes – not short-term financial implications.
“Patient safety must come first. That means keeping our A&E, so Minister, hands off our HRI.”
Mr McCartney also pressed Mr Gummer for the Government to examine the Calderdale Royal Hospital PFI
Take a look at the scenes from the Save Huddersfield A&E campaign meeting below
And while Mr Gummer said the Department of Heath would examine ‘each and every PFI’ he said the Government had to be ‘realistic’ about unpicking such ‘carefully-worded’ deals.
Later in the Westminster Hall debate, Mr Sheerman laid into Huddersfield NHS bosses behind the Right Care Right Time Right Place proposal which could close full casualty services at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
The Labour member said: “I am not impressed by the quality and leadership within my local clinical commissioning group (CCG).
“I think there’s a failure of management in our local CCG in terms of a proper, rational assessment of where we are now and how we can get the best possible healthcare in our area.”
Mr Sheerman’s criticisms were echoed by Mr Gummer who too expressed concern about the ‘quality’ of management at CCGs.
Mr Gummer said: “It is true we have not looked carefully enough at the quality of management in CCGs. That is precisely why we are bringing in a CCG scorecard.”
Following the debate, Greater Huddersfield CCG chief officer Carol McKenna responded to Mr Sheerman’s criticisms.
WATCH the journey from St George's Square in Huddersfield to Calderdale Royal Hospital below
Ms McKenna said: “Our GP membership is central to the commissioning process and amongst other things, they bring a unique expertise and knowledge as well as an understanding of local patient needs.
“GP governing body members go through a very robust selection process including endorsement by their peers.”
Dewsbury and Batley MPs, Paula Sherriff and Jo Cox, backed Mr Sheerman and Mr McCartney.
Ms Sherriff stressed the plans would leave the whole of Kirklees without an A&E.
She said: “That’s over 430,000 people that would have to travel outside the borough to access vital emergency healthcare.
“How on Earth is that acceptable?”
Mr Gummer promised a meeting with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will be forthcoming.