The battle to save Calderdale Royal Hospital’s accident and emergency department has stepped up as angry residents across the district have organised protests, petitions and marches to send a clear “hands-off” message to health chiefs.
A report earlier this year sparked outrage after health chiefs suggested the Halifax hospital could lose its casualty ward - and the amount of beds be slashed as part of a radical shake up of care across Calderdale and Huddersfield.
The closure of our A&E was put forward as a prefered option by the Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield Health and Social Care Strategic Review from five proposals.
It could see neighbouring Huddersfield Royal Infirmary provide 24 hour A&E while Calderdale would be left as a centre for ‘planned’ care and lose the emergency unit.
Now politicians and activists in Calderdale are calling on people to march from Halifax Town Hall to Calderdale Royal Hospital on Saturday May 3 from 11am.
The protest will be followed by speakers at Manor Heath including Halifax Labour MP Linda Riordan, Calderdale Council’s Labour leader Tim Swift and Calder Valley Labour PPC Josh Fenton Glynn.
A Save our A&E public meeting with guest speaker Mrs Riordan will be in held at Shelf Village Hall tonight at 6.30pm ahead of the rally.
Mrs Riordan said: “Across Halifax and Calderdale people have packed out public meetings with a clear ‘hands off our A&E’ message - I expect it to be no different in Shelf.
“I would urge people from across the community to come along and express their anger at this callous A & E closure proposal.”
Meanwhile the Calderdale 38 Degrees NHS Campaign Group has pledged support to the Band Together for the NHS campaign to present a united front to fight the ‘preferred option’ changes proposed by the Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust.
The group will hold an information stall in Brighouse tomorrow, from 11am outside Wilkinson’s, where there will be petitions to sign against the closures, and lots of information for the public about the threatened changes.
The group will also be holding a fundraising musical event on Friday May 9 from 8pm at the Sowerby Bridge WMC where Ryburn 3 Step musicians will be presenting an evening of music and dance.
Campaign group Band Together For Our NHS are currently looking at ways to mount a legal challenge against the proposals.
“We’re considering the legal challenge if the consultation process isn’t open and transparent,” said Mr Fenton-Glynn, secretary of Band Together For Our NHS.”
Campaigners now have the backing of Calderdale Council who last week passed a motion to call for the Halifax A&E closure plans to be dropped.
The Trust was unable to comment.