Health cuts ‘could cost lives’ - claim

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Calderdale Council’s Labour group is to table a motion against “damaging” NHS reforms amid growing concerns that Calderdale Royal Hospital’s accident and emergency department in Halifax may be downgraded.

Last week’s report by NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh called for a dramatic reduction in the number of A&E departments, sparking fears that Calderdale’s could be one of those at risk.

The Labour group has also criticised proposals to axe walk-in services and reduce the number of rapid response vehicles and is calling for a “long-term strategy” for the delivery of urgent and emergency care.

Coun Megan Swift (Town ward) said: “The decision to cut Calderdale walk-in services was short sighted and we have always felt it would add pressure to A&E.

“Now we face the even more worrying prospect of our A&E department being downgraded.

“Having to travel to Huddersfield for emergency care could cost lives.”

The council motion also highlights a new NHS funding formula, which Labour says could see Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group lose out by as much as £25 million.

Calderdale councillors joined senior Labour figures such as Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper at a rally in Leeds to call for a fairer funding deal.

Coun Adam Wilkinson (Sowerby Bridge) said: “The NHS in Calderdale is facing unprecedented challenges.

“Latest proposals could mean a further reduction of £25m in funding for our NHS services, while healthier, affluent areas in the south of England will get a funding increase.

“This is unacceptable and we have called on NHS England to think again.”

Todmorden’s GP walk-in centre was in danger of closing earlier this year but received a late reprieve after a Labour-led campaign.