PLANS to switch maternity services away from Huddersfield were described by councillors yesterday as not in the best interests of the public.
They added they were `concerned' and `sceptical' about the proposals.
Members of the Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee met at Huddersfield Town Hall to decide whether to refer the recent decisions by health bosses to the Secretary of State for Health Patricia Hewitt.
Last month the board of the three local Primary Care Trusts voted to move maternity and planned surgery from Huddersfield Royal Infirmary to Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax.
They also voted through the closure of St Luke's Hospital.
But yesterday health committee members voted unanimously to take the decision to switch maternity services out of the hands of local PCT board members and pass it to Ms Hewitt.
In a report prepared for the meeting they said they were:
* "Concerned" about the strategic planning in maternity services on a regional level.
* "Sceptical" about the sustainability, at this point, of a midwife-led maternity unit in Huddersfield.
* And "do not believe" that the model for maternity services proposed in the plans is "in the best interests of the local population."
But the committee did accept that there were compelling clinical and policy reasons for change to the status quo and also ruled out no change as an option.
In response to worries health bosses had pledged to maintain a full obstetric service at both HRI and CRH for a year while establishing the midwife-led unit at HRI.
They said once the midwife unit was operational it would "run alongside the Huddersfield obstetric unit for a maximum period of six months" to develop training and confidence.
But during the 10-minute meeting Cleckheaton councillor Ann Raistrick said: "It is far too short a timescale to develop the credibility a midwife-led unit and for people to be confident with that form of service delivery."
Members voted unanimously to refer the maternity services changes to the Secretary of State and to formally thank the PCTs for their response to committee concerns.
Committee chairman Calderdale councillor Peter Coles said: "The arguments have put forward are not strong enough for us to overturn the original decision."