This was the message from Save our A&E campaigners this morning, as they walked with Labour Parliamentary candidate Josh Fenton Glynn from Todmorden to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
The walk is to bring home the distances people will need to travel if the proposed closure of Calderdale A&E goes ahead.
In Hebden Bridge after the completing first stage of his 20 mile walk from Todmorden to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, Labour Parliamentary candidate for Calder Valley Josh Fenton Glynn said:
“This is a fight that we can win. And it will be a fight.”
Christine McCafferty, the former Calder Valley MP, joined the walk to save Calderdale A&E.
Chris McCafferty said this was so important that it had brought her out of retirement. She said that she knew Josh was perfectly capable of doing his job and she wasn’t there because she thought he needed any support from her. She was on the walk because keeping Calderdale A&E open is vitally important for everyone in the Calder Valley.
“We’re all here to keep Calderdale A&E open. But this is about more than the A&E. Under these plans, Calderdale Royal Hospital will only keep 25 percent of its beds open. This is a new, purpose built hospital. What’s going to happen to it when all the other beds are closed?”
Under the proposals, Calderdale A&E would be replaced by a Minor Injuries Unit. For most accident and emergency treatment, patients would have to travel to Huddersfield A&E. A Calder Valley resident, who greeted Josh Fenton Glynn on the walk, said:
“The proposed Minor Injuries Unit will have some form of resuscitation equipment but according to a briefing I attended last week may not be open 24 hours a day. What this means is that ambulances will go straight past the Calderdale Royal Hospital and take casualties to Huddersfield instead. I know the Trust claim this is already happening but when I left CRH last week there were 6 ambulances outside so some still go there. The current A&E has 4 fully equipped resuscitation bays and on occasion these have been fully occupied.
With A&E going also we will lose Paediatrics, Special Care Baby Unit (nicu), complex maternity services and Medical Assessment Unit . But if we have no A&E then cardiology patients will be directed to Huddersfield too. So do we need the Coronary Care Unit? The Coronary Ward? Similarly with Stroke Patients, will the SAU go too?
Option 2 then is a complete downgrading of a hospital that 12 years ago was built state of the art with all those services above deemed clinically necessary, so what has changed?
The Trust’s budget has been frozen and from that budget Trusts are demanded to make savings. These savings, instead of being re-invested into front line healthcare as promised, are returned to The Treasury. Further from this so called ‘ring-fenced budget’ a Top Down Reform of the NHS costing Billions of pounds has been paid for.”
The Strategic Outline Case for transforming NHS and social care services in Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield also contains proposals to cut Calderdale Royal Hospital’s beds to 87 and to spend £150m on extra buildings for the acute care hospital, which would be Huddersfield Royal Infirmary according to the preferred option.