Travel to Calderdale Royal Infirmary – particularly in an emergency – tops the list of concerns residents have with the plan which would close Huddersfield’s A&E.
The long distances patients would have to travel from outlying areas of Huddersfield – before they hit the notorious Elland Bypass bottleneck – repeatedly appear in the results of an official public survey on the Right Care Right Time Right Place (RCRTRP) plan.
‘The Independent Report of Findings’ on RCRTRP report said: “Respondents from Greater Huddersfield are worried about the impact of increased travel times, in particular for access to emergency treatment at Halifax.
“This was seen as a reason for A&E services to be retained in Huddersfield.”
A 65-year-old Huddersfield respondent wrote in his questionnaire: “It can take 45 minutes to get from HD8 to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI), then the journey from HRI to Halifax needs to be added – which can be another 45 to 60 minutes.
“Sirens will not make any difference as there is nowhere for cars to move out of the way. This could mean an hour-and-a-half in an ambulance.
“This could easily lead to unnecessary death.”
Where do respondents live?
And these concerns were not confined to Huddersfield residents.
Calderdale residents, while more sympathetic to the controversial plan which would centralise emergency care in Halifax, were also worried about travel problems.
A 41-year-old Calderdale woman wrote: “Travel to Calderdale along Elland Bypass takes a significant length of time...
“How are ambulances going to get through in a timely and safe manner?”
As well as travel times to Calderdale Royal, respondents expressed concerns about how an already overstretched Yorkshire Ambulance Service would cope with the extra demand.
The report said: “The additional demand on ambulance services led respondents to believe that there would be a delay in response times and availability to transport those with life threatening conditions.”
Respondents also showed misgivings about the extra travel cost and the inconvenience it would cause for people using public transport.