HOSPITAL bosses have apologised for failing to discuss plans - unveiled by the Examiner - to shift breast cancer surgery from Huddersfield to Halifax.
And they promised to meet people who have spent the last decade raising £1m for top-class breast care at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
The apology came at a public meeting in Huddersfield Town Hall last night.
Hundreds of people packed the venue to voice their concerns about major plans to shake up hospital services.
John Woodhead, chairman of the HRI Breast Clinic Appeal, tackled the panel of health officials who have put forward proposals to shift most breast cancer surgery from Huddersfield to the Calderdale Royal Hospital.
The move means four out of five breast cancer patients would have to travel to Halifax for operations, including mastectomies.
Mr Woodhead said: "We feel it is immoral to move breast care services.
"I would like to ask for an apology for not consulting the people of Huddersfield, whose money has paid for this unit."
The appeal - set up in 1989 - launched a campaign in 1994 to raise £300,00 to help build a pioneering breast care and oncology unit at HRI.
The people of Huddersfield pulled out all the stops to raise the cash.
The charity has since spent £750,000 on new equipment, research and a range of activities for breast cancer sufferers - thanks to people's generosity.
John Lawlor, director of service development for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, said: "I would like to apologise on behalf of the trust that we have not engaged with you on this.
"We would like to make amends for our failure to do this."
But he said that by keeping planned surgery - including breast surgery - at HRI the risk of patients' operations being cancelled to make way for emergency cases was higher.
Mr Lawlor added: "We believe there are major benefits for separating planned operations from emergency surgery. Many hospitals have already done this across the country."