Calderdale and Huddersfield hospital consultation ends tonight
A public consultation over controversial changes to hospital services in Halifax and Huddersfield ends at midnight tonight.
People were asked to have their say on proposals to downgrade Huddersfield’s emergency department and centralise A&E care in Halifax.
Up to 300 beds could be added to Calderdale Royal Infirmary, which would be the main A&E for the two districts.
Huddersfield’s existing 400-bed infirmary would be replaced with a 120-bed site designed for planned NHS care.
The proposals, designed to tackle a £280m funding gap, led to protests from NHS campaigners who fear that increased journey times to A&E would compromise safety.
But bosses at Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have insisted the changes are safe.
Dr Alan Brook, chairman of Calderdale CCG, said: “If the proposals are given the go-ahead, there would be two specialist hospitals locally: one for planned care in a new purpose-built facility on the Acre Mills site at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and one for emergency care at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
“This would involve huge investment at both sites. A&E care would be transformed into a new model of care and made fit for the future. “
Fears have been raised that the proposals are driven by the need to cut costs at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, which had a financial deficit of £21m at the end of the last financial year.
Financial pressures include a costly 60-year contract for Calderdale hospital, which is leased back from the private sector under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal.
The trust also has a costly bill for maintenance work at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
But Dr Brook added “The proposals have been developed and are backed by doctors, consultants and health professionals who are dedicated to improving safety and standards and providing more services in the community.”
Dr Brook said feedback from the 14-week consultation would be analysed before the CCGs make a final decision in October.