Unpopular plans to demolish Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and move emergency care to Halifax WILL be reviewed by independent experts.

It has been confirmed this afternoon that the Secretary of State for Health has declined the option to rubber stamp the controversial proposals.

Documents proposing a huge shake-up of hospital care have been with Jeremy Hunt since last summer.

Mr Hunt could have decided to give them the green light.

But today it has been revealed that he has turned that option down.

Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary at the Tory Conference, Manchester.

In a letter to the joint health scrutiny panel of Kirklees and Calderdale councils today, Mr Hunt says he has asked the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) to analyse the plans.

News that the IRP has finally been put to work means months of limbo are finally over.

But it also means the clock is again ticking on the future of a full emergency hospital in Huddersfield.

The IRP has until February 26 to take an “initial assessment” of the case.

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It will review Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust’s so called Full Business Case and the concerns raised by the scrutiny panel.

It will then decide if hospital chiefs’ proposals require a closer look.

If it does not, it will likely recommend they are given the green light.