There is a need for A&E service, it doesn’t matter when

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You recently published news of the possible closure of the Calderdale A/E dept and its transfer to Huddersfield Infirmary.

Various alternatives to this proposal were also mooted.

The claim is that Calderdale A/E is often quiet and its resources are thus under-used. A closure is a more efficient way of using its manpower.

What a ludicrous suggestion! You wouldn’t close a Stroke Unit because, occasionally, no stroke victims were admitted. Likewise you wouldn’t close a surgery ward because no surgery procedures were being performed.

The departments are there because there IS a need, no matter when. I had need of Huddersfield A/E until last year, twice. The first was a Thursday midday in July with a head trauma. I was taken there because, according to the ambulance crew, Huddersfield takes head trauma cases. I was treated immediately but that was because of the nature of the injury.

The second admission was on a late Sunday evening in October, suffering from, again according to the ambulance crew, an orthopaedic trauma and Huddersfield takes orthopaedic traumas at weekends. But I was not treated immediately. I had to wait because there was a queue of patients and already a backlog. How would Huddersfield A/E cope if it had to cater foradditional patients from Calderdale, which is the proposal offered here?

Patients from the tops around Todmorden, where I live, and from the extreme ends of the valleys, from Walsden in one direction and Portsmouth/Cornholme in the other are NOT better served by the implementation of such a proposal. Travelling to Calderdale A/E is difficult at the best of times along narrow twisting roads, often made more difficult by roadworks and heavy traffic. Journeys are harder in winter.

How is going to Huddersfield with the additional journey time and a later treatment time going to be of benefit to the patients from the Todmorden area? We do not believe we will benefit.

How will Huddersfield benefit? It already cannot cope with the number of patients it has at the moment. Taking on extra staff to cope with the extra numbers is folly. Bringing in more staff into an already busy unit which has limited space is an unworkable idea. You cannot create space!

All this comes at a time when the Care Bill is going through Parliament. This now has added to its proposals a Hospital Closure Clause which would give the Govrnment the power to close any hospital without need of discussion or consultation.

I wonder what our MP Mr Craig Whittaker thinks of this? He has spoken of his own agreement to the Calderdale A/E closure. How can he possibly justify a closure which would do so much harm to some of his constituents? This suggestion MUST NOT be adopted because of its unfairness and the damage it will inevitably cause.

Helen Lunt