LIVES will be lost if "devastating" hospital cuts go ahead, a top councillor has warned.
Kirklees Council leader Robert Light believes new plans threaten the casualty departments in Huddersfield and Dewsbury.
His warning came as two Government reports recommended regional 'super hospitals' leaving local hospitals with minor injury units rather than full-scale A&E departments.
But hospital chiefs in Huddersfield are adamant there are no plans to change the system locally.
The Prime Minister welcomed the proposals yesterday saying they would bring care "closer to the people."
But Clr Light disagrees. He said: "Tony Blair's plans for 'super hospitals' and amalgamated A&E departments will have a devastating impact on Kirklees.
"The Dewsbury District Hospital and the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary are already the poor relation in their respective trusts and now we have the potential for the vital A&E services being denied to the people of Kirklees and moved to the 'super hospitals' in Wakefield, Leeds and Bradford.
"There can be little doubt that not only our A&E departments, but even our hospitals' futures are under threat."
The Conservative leader believes that more local control is the answer. He said: "Our hospitals should be run locally without constant interference from Whitehall. Local people are sick of the government 'consulting' over change.
"We have plenty of evidence that such consultations are a sham.
"The government keep proposing reforms which clearly put lives at risk.
"The changes already made in Huddersfield were evidently just the start of a softening up process which is set to devastate our hospital services."
But Helen Thomson, director of nursing and deputy chief executive at the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, denied there were any plans to close casualty departments.
She said: "These claims are absolutely untrue.
"We have recently undergone a lengthy reconfiguration of services and central to this was the retention of both A&E units at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital.
"This was always the case and has not changed."
Meanwhile, the British Medical Association has called for doctors to have a say in any casualty changes.