Patient’s charity Healthwatch Kirklees is inviting members of the public to air their views on plans to shake-up hospital services.
As reported, radical proposals to create a new blueprint for health in the region, including the possible closure of one A&E unit, have been revealed.
The meeting comes as Liberal Democrats say NHS chiefs should not “waste time” considering proposals that nobody wants.
Healthwatch Kirklees Director, Rory Deighton, said their role was to try and get information to the questions the public wanted to know.
He said: “We’re keen to have this discussion now, so that patients can get as much information as early as possible.
“Already the conversation is turning into one about A&E. While this is important to patients, they need to know much more.”
He added: “We’ve sent the first set of questions to Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group based on what patients have asked us in the last week.
“We’ll carry on asking until we are happy that all of the issues have been properly aired and considered.”
Meanwhile, politicians in Kirklees and Calderdale have continued to criticise the plan.
Kirklees Lib Dems say they have lodged an “early marker” in the review, after they submitted a motion to the council warning that the A&E Department at HRI must be retained in full.
They say Kirklees Councillors will not entertain any option that would see the department downgraded.
Calderdale Lib Dems have called for health bosses to better explain their plans.
Calderdale Liberal Democrat leader, Clr Janet Battye, said: “Two weeks after the proposals became public, information is still dribbling out but with no real explanation or dialogue with local people.
“All we’ve been offered so far is ‘engagement’ over the summer and consultation at some vague time in the future.
“A real consultation process needs to be put in place as a matter of urgency.
“We now know that these proposals have been worked on for around a year, so I assume that there is plenty of evidence that the local NHS sees as providing a compelling case for change.
“It is now well past the time when this should have been made available to local people to examine.”
In Huddersfield, deputy leader of the Lib Dem group, Clr Nicola Turner, added: “At this early stage in the process we think it is important that the Council comes together to tell the hospital trust that it is not willing to consider anything other than the A&E Department at HRI being retained in full.
“The area and its residents need access to a fully functioning A&E at HRI and if that’s the bottom line for us the trust needs to be told.
“We don’t want time wasted on options which shouldn’t be on the table and which only serve to worry residents unnecessarily.
“We hope that councillors from the other groups will back us in this call to protect local health services”.
Healthwatch Kirklees’ meeting is from 10am to 12noon on Wednesday in the Reception Room at Huddersfield Town Hall.
Members of the public are welcome to attend but must book a seat by calling 01924 450379.
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