Fears over health services mount

Calderdale Royal Hospital - could more services be lost?
Calderdale Royal Hospital - could more services be lost?

More than 100 people attended a public meeting at St Mary’s Church, Todmorden, where another local action group was formed to fight proposed changes to the NHS in Calderdale and Kirklees.

Band Together For Our Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS reported that the meeting, which was chaired by Mayor of Todmorden Coun Jayne Booth, had seen the formation of another group.

It aims to fight the plans to scrap the A&E department at Calderdale Royal Hospital and also oppose other cuts to services.

There are also plans afoot for group members to take part in this year’s Todmorden Carnival procession on May 24. The event has a Tour De France theme and one of the group said it was hoped to enter, but would need equipment such as wheelchairs to create an entry.

“We have got a marvellous group of people who will march in the procession to point out that reading about prposed closures is one thing but seeing it is another. We need people of all ages to join us with items like crutches and wheelchairs and sixth formers at Todmorden High will be doing the make-up,” she said.

Anyone wantinto larn more can do so by ringing 01706 817710 or at the Animal Rescue stall which is at Todmorden Market each Sunday.

“We also want people to make banners pointing out that Huddersfield is too far to go. The journey can be subject to hold-ups and we won’t get ‘the golden hour’. People have times journeys for us and it can take up to an hour to get to Halifax alone,” she said.

l Local Liberal Democrats have voiced their concerns that more services than just A&E may be affected by changes.

Councillors Ruth Goldthorpe and Margareta Holmstedt claim that under the NHS trust’s preferred option the Halifax site would be reduced to a ‘Planned Care Specialist Hospital’ with only some services: minor injury unit; outpatient services; therapies and diagnostic services; medical day case; rheumatology; rehabilitation; dermatology; endoscopy; planned inpatient care for surgery; day case surgery; and midwifery led maternity services.

It is envisaged that most prenatal care will be carried out in the community.

Gone would be many of the services now provided including: adult and child emergency department; level 2 and 3 Intensive Therapy Units; general medicine and elderly assessment service; stroke; cardiology; respiratory; oncology; haematology; neurology; gastroenterology; acute and complex surgery; trauma; endoscopy; complex maternity; gynaecology; and neonatal intensive care.

Under the proposals being considered, these services would be based in Huddersfield, they said.

Coun Goldthorpe said that whilst the current campaign about A&E services was very important it was obscuring the real danger of a whole raft of services being lost to Halifax and shifted to Huddersfield: “The trouble is, there is no need for any of this. The trust made an ‘above expected’ operating surplus, even allowing for its huge PFI bills, so why we are facing this drastic cut in local services is anyone’s guess. If you look at a similar reorganisation just over the border in East Lancashire, it’s been a disaster for patients.”