Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals legal challenge is postponed

Hands off HRI
Hands off HRI

A legal challenge to a controversial shake-up of hospital services in two West Yorkshire towns has been postponed.

A three day hearing was due to start today after NHS campaigners were granted a judicial review of the plans for Huddersfield and Halifax.

The plan would see Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) knocked down and replaced with a smaller site. Accident and emergency services for both towns would be centralised at an expanded Calderdale Royal Hospital.

Action group Hands off HRI launched legal action against the proposals, which have raised fears over longer journey times to hospital.

But the planned hearing at the High Court in Leeds could be held at a later date after a separate intervention by the health secretary.

Last month, Jeremy Hunt effectively vetoed the proposals in a letter to local NHS bosses, saying it was “not in the best interests” of patients.

The plan had been referred to Mr Hunt by Calderdale and Huddersfield joint health scrutiny committee last summer and reviewed by the Government’s Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP).

The panel's findings mean NHS bosses are reconsidering the proposals.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is representing the campaigners, said that in the meantime, the judicial review proceedings will be stayed.

The plan for NHS services involves an expansion of Calderdale Royal Hospital, more planned procedures being carried out at a new facility in Huddersfield and more services being offered outside of hospitals. The new Huddersfield hospital was originally planned to have 120 beds, but that was reduced to 64.