It's time to let health chiefs know what you think of a plan which could see the biggest shake-up of Huddersfield’s NHS services in a generation.
Huddersfield and Calderdale NHS bosses have announced that a public consultation on the Right Care Right Time Right Place plan will begin on March 15.
But Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman has already called for the consultation to be postponed, as it clashes with the EC referendum issue.
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Greater Huddersfield and Calderdale CCGs (clinical commissioning groups), the local NHS organisation behind the plan, say they will decide whether to approve the proposal in October, at the earliest.
In the meantime, a series of information sessions and public meetings will take place at which people can find out more about the proposed changes, ask questions and give their views.
Details of these events will be publicised shortly.
Greater Huddersfield CCG chair, Dr Steve Ollerton, said he welcomed debate and was looking forward to hearing people’s views.
Dr Ollerton said: “We welcome the opportunity of having real discussions with people throughout the consultation and listening to their views.
“It is important that we describe some of the challenges that we face as a health community and the changes we are proposing.”
Calderdale CCG chair, Dr Alan Brook, added: “We are aware of the strength of feeling and passion that people have for health services and we encourage them to be actively involved in the consultation process.”
However, Mr Sheerman hit out at the timing of the consultation.
Mr Sheerman has sent a letter to Dr Ollerton and Greater Huddersfield CCG chief officer, Carol McKenna, urging them to postpone it.
The Labour MP said the consultation clashed with two ‘important and distracting’ political events, namely the EU referendum together with the local and European elections.
Mr Sheerman said: “It seems like they think the time of the local elections and the European referendum is a good time to bury bad news.
“The consultation ends two days after the referendum and it’s patently obvious what they are trying to do. They have chosen the timing when people’s minds will be elsewhere.
“It’s a cynical attempt by the CCG to subvert accountability of the local community. I don’t know how they think they can get away with these things.”