DISGRUNTLED health campaigners from across the country are teaming up with a group fighting the closure of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’s accident and emergency department for a day of action in London.
Members of the Hands Off HRI campaign group are travelling to the capital next Monday, on October 10, to hand over a petition of around 80,000 signatures to officials at both Downing Street and the Department of Health.
Their petition calls for Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups to abandon the closure of the A&E department of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary as part of their joint £300m plans to downsize the hospital and expand Calderdale hospital, which is five miles away in Halifax.
Under the plans, which local health chiefs will decide whether to proceed with at a meeting on October 20, the most serious A&E emergencies from Halifax and Huddersfield would be taken to an expanded Calderdale Hospital. However both towns would have urgent care centres for treating minor ailments.
Meanwhile, Huddersfield Royal Infirmary would be demolished and replaced with a smaller hospital designed to carry out planned NHS procedures.
The plans come with NHS services in Calderdale and Huddersfield facing a £270m funding gap between now and 2020, but those opposing the reorganisation claim it would be damaging to local people’s safety.
The Hands Off group said they were taking the issue to the Government after receiving a disappointing response to their letter to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt which called for him to intervene.
West Yorkshire MPs Barry Sheerman, Jason McCartney and Paula Sherriff will also be joining campaigners in London, the group said.
A Hands Off spokesperson said: “The reason we felt it necessary to go to London was the result of a letter we sent to Jeremy Hunt. We were told, in response to a government petition against the proposals, that the issue was a local one. However, after speaking to other campaign groups from around the country facing similar fights, it became clear that this