A series of presentations this afternoon at the Huddersfield Health & Wellbeing committee has revealed that as expected, Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust’s (CHFT) preference is to downgrade A&E at Calderdale.
Halifax Courier reported from the meeting that CHFT recommends closure of Calderdale A&E.
Calderdale Councillor Tim Swift said that the Report from the National Clinical Advisory Team which contains the detailed basis for the presentations will be publicly available on Tuesday.
Someone who was present at the meeting told UCV Plain Speaker,
“It was a series of presentations, the Council Wellbeing Team, Clinical Commissioning Groups and CHFT and Locala. They were very well prepared and full of glossy promises.
“There was not much on the facts, but Huddersfield would be the ‘specialist acute’ site. There were lots of promises about patients being treated in the community but nothing outlining who would provide these services.
“They expect to conduct a public consultation during Summer/Autumn.”
Locala is the privatised health care provider that runs community health services in Kirklees, as well as holding the interim contract for the Todmorden and Park Ward walk-in health centres that were formerly run by Care UK until they went into contractual melt down and bailed out.
Halifax Courier reports that the privatised Locala-run Todmorden Health Centre looks set to be enhanced, as Tod residents would have the furthest to travel if the A&E unit moved to Huddersfield.
Halifax Courier has also reported that CHFT has five proposals. The second is the preferred option.
1) Do nothing
2) Have HRI as a ‘hot site’ including 24 hour A&E unit, while Calderdale would be left as a ‘cold site’ with planned appointments and no 24 hour A&E provision. (This is the trust’s recommended option)
3) Calderdale Royal to become the ‘hot site’ and HRI to be the ‘cold site’ without A&E
4) Implement the Keogh review which suggests a dramatic reduction of hospitals across Yorkshire – so neither Huddersfield nor Calderdale would have emergency care in A&E departments
5) Further consultation and look for other proposals.
The plan aims to save around £50 million. Central government’s funding of CHFT during 2014/15 is due to be cut by £45m.
Posting on the Save Royal Calderdale Hospital Facebook page, Calderdale Council Leader Tim Swift said,
“The A and E closure is obviously going to cause the most concern and attention, but the proposals are even more far reaching. If the ‘unplanned’ [ie accident and emergency] care hospital is in Huddersfield then this will also involve many more changes.”
Michael Coughlan added,
“The plans known as option 2 include the transfer of A&E but also complex maternity (LDRP) & paediatrics. The knock on effects could include other departments to as specialists transfer such as Stroke Ward, CCU and ICU. Tim is right, it doesn’t stop at A&E.”
Halifax Courier quotes Halifax MP Linda Riordan (Lab) as saying:
“Whatever options are put forward, there is only one outcome the people of Halifax and Calderdale want to see. That is for their A&E to stay where it is, as it is, continuing the excellent 24 hour service to communities across the district.
“Health bosses can consult as much as they like, but the message from local people is quite simply ‘hands off our A&E’.
“Any proposal to close the local A&E would be disastrous for this area and be fought all the way.”
Calderdale Council Adults, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel is now hearing the proposals at Halifax Town Hall. Cllr Tim Swift reports that Matt Walsh, Chief Officer of Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“I put my hand on my heart and tell you that the commissioners have not made a decision.”
There is a public meeting at 6pm tomorrow (Weds 26th Feb) at the Fox & Goose in Hebden Bridge, to plan a campaign to save Calderdale A&E.
Meanwhile, Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker MP, who has access to the full CHFT report on the A&E proposals, has been sneering on Twitter about his constituents’ lack of information, despite requests that he provide a link to the report.
Updated 26th Feb with info from Save Calderdale Royal Hospital Facebook group, and info about the publication of the NCAT Report next Tuesday.