A PATIENT watchdog has been barred from carrying out a hospital staff survey into how many workers were involved in shaping health proposals in Huddersfield.
Members of the Calderdale and Huddersfield Patient and Public Involvement Forum are holding emergency talks after plans to launch a questionnaire were scuppered by forum bosses.
The independent body - set up by the Department of Health to oversee hospital services in Huddersfield and Halifax - told the Examiner last week of its intention to carry out the survey.
Now the idea has been banned because its bosses do not believe staffing comes under the group's remit.
Chairman of the forum Sean Wade disagrees.
He said: "It is appalling.
"We have been hearing how a lot of the staff are disaffected and we wanted to find out what the levels of that were.
"We thought it would benefit the patients.
"If the staff are not happy, it affects patient care.
"Now we have been told we can't go ahead with the survey.
"We are an independent, statutory body and for this to happen is a sham.
"It smells very bad indeed - especially when they have said no without even seeing it."
He said the decision came after he met to discuss the survey with a hospital trust official.
He added: "It is a conspiracy.
"The survey is being scuppered by the Trust and the Commission.
"They have said no without even seeing it."
Iqbal Bhana, regional manager for the PPI Commission in Yorkshire, said: "We are not trying to stop the work of the forum, but they have to work within a larger framework.
"We have asked them not to proceed at this moment in time.
"We need to see if there is legislation to do a survey of staff which is employment related.
"These are employment-related matters between the Trust and its employees.
"We have to make sure we are not crossing other people's boundaries."
The 17-question survey covers a variety of issues including job satisfaction, stress levels and also asks workers if they took part in workshops held by the Trust to help draw up hospital changes.
A spokesman for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust said: "This is absolutely not a conspiracy and we totally refute that.
"We have not banned the PPI survey. It is simply not in our power to do so.
"We are committed to working in partnership with the PPI Forum to continue to improve the care for patients in Huddersfield and Calderdale."