Councillors, politicians and local communities have vowed to fight to save Calderdale Royal Hospital’s accident and emergency department.
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust sparked outrage last week after controversial plans were put forward suggesting the casualty section in Halifax could close and A&E be centred on Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
It is the preferred option of the Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield Health and Social Care Strategic Review to see Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) provide 24 hour A&E while Calderdale would be left as a centre for ‘planned’ care losing its A&E unit.
However, under this option Todmorden Health Centre could be set for an overhaul to provide some emergency care.
Health chiefs say the plan could save around £50 million and will be focussed on a better service in the community care sector.
However the plans have caused outrage in the upper Calder Valley.
A well-attended public meeting in Hebden Bridge decided to campaign to stop cuts to accident and emergency departments in Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals and “protect vital emergency care services for everyone in the area”.
Anyone interested in joining the “Upper Calder Valley Save Our A & E” campaign, can email firstname.lastname@example.org
The proposed changes have, however, been welcomed by Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker who said they could lead to a better overall service for the people of Calderdale.
Mr Whittaker said: “Todmorden Health Centre stands to become a low level A&E centre that they don’t currently have. As far as Calderdale Royal Hospital is concerned a lot of services are already in Huddersfield. I spent a night in Calderdale A&E and the reality is 50 per cent of people don’t need to be there.”
“These five topics aren’t just about A&E they are particularly about social care. I think we have to be a little bit careful what we wish for. If we lose planned care in Calderdale and keep the A&E department that could mean more difficulty for elderly people travelling to Huddersfield and an overall worse service. We need a grown up debate about this and the future of the NHS. Personally I would rather see us go for option four in line with the Keogh report with specialist regional centres for strokes and so on although I think that is probably unachievable at the moment.”
l The five options, which are under consideration are: 1) Continue with the existing hospital and service model; 2) Huddersfield Royal Infirmary for acute and emergency care and Calderdale Royal Hospital for planned hospital care; 3) The same as above but with the hospitals’ roles reversed; 4) Those needing specialist treatments are transferred to a major emergency centre outside the local area; 5) Other topics which may emerge.