Calderdale and Huddersfield A&E shake-up meets scathing criticism from parish council

Calderdale Royal Hospital Accident and Emergency.
Calderdale Royal Hospital Accident and Emergency.
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Controversial plans to centralise A&E care at an expanded hospital in Halifax have sparked opposition from a parish council over in Kirklees.

Holme Valley Parish Council has raised safety fears over increased journey times to A&E if Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) is demolished and replaced with a smaller hospital in the town.

Calderdale Royal Hospital could be expanded from 400 to up to 700 beds if Halifax becomes the central A&E site for the two districts.

Huddersfield’s 400-bed infirmary would be replaced with a 120-bed site, with the A&E downgraded to an “urgent care centre” treating less serious ailments.

The parish council said people living in Hinchliffe Mill, near Holmfirth, would have a 43-minute journey to Halifax during normal off-peak traffic.

It said in a statement: “Those who already live more than 30 minutes away from the HRI and would have to wait for an ambulance to arrive cannot afford any further travelling time to receive urgent treatment.”

The parish council warned that roads to neighbouring hospitals during the winter were often impassible due to snow.

It said: “The Huddersfield and Calderdale NHS Trust have been funded to look after the health of local people.

“By closing the Huddersfield A&E it will be abdicating its responsibility to provide emergency care for residents of the Holme Valley.”

The proposals are designed to tackle a £280m funding gap and would see the workforce at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust fall by more than 950.

Planned hospital treatments would be carried out at the new hospital at Huddersfield’s Acre Mills site, which would have 280 fewer beds than the current infirmary.

The parish council called for the proposals by Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to be scrapped and alternative options found.

It said: “Any loss of beds for planned care will result in significant failures to meet targets for operation waiting times.

“Significant investment has been made recently in upgrading the HRI. Demolition would waste this money.”

A 14-week public consultation on the proposals will be launched on March 15.