HEALTH bosses waged a secret telephone campaign to "indoctrinate" a powerful councillor into their way of thinking on hospital cuts, it was claimed.
Clr Peter Coles, who chairs the Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee, said he had been contacted covertly by Primary Care Trust chiefs on FOUR separate occasions.
Clr Coles broke the news of the telephone calls at a meeting of the committee, which acts as a watchdog, yesterday.
Members of the committee were meeting to decide whether to refer the PCT's decision on health changes to Secretary of State Patricia Hewitt for further examination.
Last month the boards of the three local PCTs voted to move gynaecology, obstetrics and planned surgery to Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax.
The Calderdale councillor, who represents Luddendenfoot, said: "On four occasions I have been rung up by members of the PCT in an attempt to indoctrinate us."
When Clr Coles asked other members of the committee, which met at Huddersfield Town Hall, if they had been contacted, they all said they had not.
Speaking after the meeting Clr Coles refused to name the people who had contacted him.
But he added: "I don't think they are quite used to scrutiny.
"They are surprised when somebody can disagree with them that has any effect.
"I think they are accountable only to their own board.
"Their boards are quangos (quasi-autonomous national government organisations) really. Through scrutiny they are properly accountable to the public."
In a joint statement, Kevin Holder, chief executive of the Huddersfield PCTs and Martyn Pritchard, chief executive of Calderdale PCT said:
"The PCTs and Hospital Trust were supportive in providing information to the joint committee and the chairman, to ensure that the panel were given the most comprehensive and up to date information on which to write their report.
"The PCTs refute that anything more than this occurred."