Huddersfield Royal Infirmary could be knocked down as part of a plan to revamp hospital services in the town.
Life-threatening cases will be treated at Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax, while a newly- built Huddersfield Royal Infirmary will tackle less serious cases – if a hospital shake-up plan goes ahead.
Health bosses will decide whether the plan is ready to go to public consultation at a public meeting on January 20.
Under the RCRTRP proposal, services relating to emergency care – including intensive care, complex and unplanned surgery as well as high-risk births – will be located at Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH).
It is believed Calderdale Royal Hospital was chosen as the emergency care centre because it was built under a PFI deal.
The deal, where private companies fronted the cash for the buildings, is expected to cost £773m in interest – a lot for a campus that was worth £64m.
Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) and CRH will host outpatient services, day case surgeries, diagnostics – including X-rays and MRI scans – and midwife-led maternity units.
The new HRI, which will include 10 operating theatres, will provide day case clinics, planned surgery and endoscopy.
It will be built next to Acre Mills which will continue to provide some of the services.
Some planned services, including rehabilitation and children’s services, will move out of hospitals and into GP clinics and other community-based facilities. They will be accessed via a ‘single point of contact’.
Some reaction to the news
The five-year plan has been devised by Greater Huddersfield and Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) which manage NHS services in Huddersfield and Halifax respectively.
CCG chiefs said the current set-up was not sustainable and was failing to deliver consistently safe and timely care.
A spokesperson for both CCGs said: “Our plans will secure the future of health services in Huddersfield and Calderdale for the next 20 years.
“The way in which hospital services in Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield are provided simply isn’t sustainable. Simply going forward and accepting the status quo will not enable us to deliver the quality of care that local residents deserve, nor will it provide either of our hospitals with the financial sustainability required to deliver that care.
“To do this things have to change and change for the better.”
RCRTRP has come under fire from MPs, campaign groups and patients.
HRI/Acre Mills site from above
Many believe the increased distance to a full A&E department will put patients at risk, particularly as CRH is accessed via a notorious bottleneck along the A629 Calderdale Way.
CCG bosses, however, insisted that ‘sacrifices’ were necessary.
A spokesperson said: “And to those who may argue that the sacrifice is too great we say that without the changes we are proposing our hospitals are simply not sustainable; standards of care will fall, our hospitals will become unsafe, we will not be able to recruit and retain the specialist expertise that we need and we will see the gradual move away of services from Calderdale and Huddersfield to other sites in Yorkshire, resulting in patients having to travel even further in order to get the care they need.”
Concerning the closure of one emergency care unit, the report said: “For patients with more serious or life threatening conditions, it is much safer for them to be treated by clinical teams that specialise in emergency care, with the right equipment and facilities to support them.”