Campaigners tell panel about NHS concerns

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Health campaigners handed a petition with 1,700 signatories to Calderdale Council’s People’s Commission on Health and Social Care calling for the protection of local hospital services.

Members of the 38 Degrees campaign group are concerned that plans to downgrade the A&E at Calderdale Royal Hospital will lead to a reduction in the quality of care.

Rosemary Hedges, secretary of Calderdale 38 Degrees NHS Campaign, told the panel that she had worked in the NHS for 37 years as a clinical psychologist and that the effects of constant change on health workers is devastating.

She said: “People who spend a lot of time working together in teams, getting to know one another, and most importantly, developing long-term relationships with patients and their families, have seen constant change since the late-80s.

“There have been a number of reconfigurations and changes to teams - I can’t tell you how debilitating that becomes when you have to move office, you start working with different people and teams are moved around and broken up.

“What I’ve seen is constant tinkering that has amounted to a re-invention of the wheel a number of times.

“Our hearts used to sink every time a new administrator arrived within the service and started saying ‘we’re going to do things this way now’ but had no clinical experience or an understanding of the importance of relationships.”

She said history has shown us that the fragmenting of health provision has been incredibly damaging for patients, pointing to the Care in Community programme.

She said: “I’m supporting the ‘no change’ option. When I moved to Yorkshire in the early-80s, I went to work at Storthes Hall Hospital.

“The hospital was closed as part of the Care in the Community programme -which is what we’re hearing now about physical health services.”