Fears over the future of Calderdale Royal’s A&E department were expressed by leading politicians in the district.
Calderdale councillor Megan Swift and Halifax MP Linda Riordan spoke of their concerns that the hospital’s casualty department could be affected by a major review of the NHS.
The issue was raised at a meeting at Halifax Town Hall where members of Calderdale Council’s Health and Wellbeing board discussed the ‘NHS Call to Action’ report.
Presenting it, West Yorkshire director for NHS England, Andy Buck, said its purpose was to initiate a debate about the NHS’s future - and that changes had to be made on a local scale in order to save money.
Coun Megan Swift (Lab, Town) said: “Some of us have been trying to find out what’s going on with the NHS - what’s happening to A&E?”
Her comments came as the result of a previous meeting - not attended by the council - between the NHS and others which allegedly discussed that the future of both Calderdale and Huddersfield A&E departments were being looked into.
“We found out through the back door. Let’s stop playing silly games and let us know what’s really happening,” Coun Swift said.
She added that due to the make up of the board, it was unfair for responsibility to lie with the council: “You can’t expect with three, four councillors that we have the authority, that we agree with changes to the hospital. People out there are frightened. They expect to know what’s happening and they don’t.”
After meeting at the Houses of Parliament, Linda Riordan MP said: “I asked for a clear commitment that Calderdale’s accident and emergency ward was safe and I didn’t get it. That is not good enough. We have walk in centres threatened with closure and now the Government wont come clean about the future of the local A&E unit.”