Leeds & West Yorkshire

Huddersfield Royal Infirmary: A&E move a step closer

Huddersfield Royal Infirmary sign Image copyright Empics
Image caption Over 7,500 people responded to a public consultation on the proposals

A proposal to close Huddersfield's A&E department has moved a step closer after health groups voted unanimously in favour of the plan.

The plan would see all emergency acute and high-risk planned care moved to Halifax's Calderdale Royal Hospital.

The Greater Huddersfield and Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) met in the town to vote on the Right Care Right Time Right Place proposal.

Huddersfield Royal Infirmary would be demolished and a new hospital built.

It would be developed at Acre Mill, Huddersfield, but with no A&E department.

The decision was met with an angry response from campaigners at the meeting at the Cedar Court Hotel in Ainley Top.

Both CCG groups voted unanimously to approve the recommendations, with shouts of "You're a disgrace" and "Shame on you" from the public seating area.

Image caption A joint Greater Huddersfield and Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group meeting took place at Ainley Top

Several demonstrations against the proposal have been staged since it was first announced, with a public consultation revealing 60% of 7,500 respondents feeling they would be negatively hit.

The CCGs will submit detailed plans to NHS England and the Department of Health for comment before a final decision is made.

The Right Care Right Time Right Place website states the proposals "have been developed and are supported by doctors, consultants and health professionals who are dedicated to improving safety and standards in our hospitals".

It states the trust would be in danger of becoming "financially unsustainable" without changes and some existing services "do not comply with national guidance".

Image caption Several marches have been held in Huddersfield in opposition to the proposal

Analysis - Jamie Coulson, BBC Look North health correspondent

There are very few things as controversial and emotive as plans to radically change local hospital services.

Thousands of people have already marched through the streets of Huddersfield and more than 130,000 people signed a petition that was delivered to Downing Street.

The leaders of the local NHS in Greater Huddersfield and Calderdale have always maintained that what they're proposing is the best option in terms of patient care and affordability.

However, their plans have been fiercely criticised by campaigners, local MPs and many front line GPs, who've raised questions about safety and cost.

Speaking after the meeting, Paula Sherriff, Labour MP for Dewsbury & Mirfield, said: "There's one man who can stop these proposals going ahead and can save lives.

"We ask Jeremy Hunt to come along to this area and have a constructive meeting."

She added: "We will prove to why we need to keep two hospitals."

Jason McCartney, Conservative MP for Colne Valley, tweeted: "After an hour highlighting huge flaws in their plans, appalled that the CCG unanimously voted for plans to downgrade A&E at HRI".

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