Protests as health watchdog decides future of Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals

A noisy protest is being held outside Huddersfield Town Hall as a health watchdog meets to decide on controversial changes to hospital services.

Calderdale Royal Hospital

A council watchdog will discuss whether to refer the shake-up at Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals to the secretary of state for health.

The plans would see Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) knocked down and replaced with a smaller 64-bed site.

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An expanded Calderdale Royal Hospital would be the main A&E centre for the two towns, a move which has raised safety fears over longer journey times to hospital.

Calderdale and Kirklees joint health scrutiny committee will discuss whether there is enough evidence to show the plans are safe.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt could be asked to carry out an independent review of the plans by Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which control the local NHS budget.

NHS bosses say the planned shake up is the safest way of providing care.

Outside the meeting Frazer Soar, 48, of Huddersfield, said: “We are here to protest against the restructuring of HRI.

“Reducing the hospital to 64 beds is ridiculous. We deserve a full A&E department.”

Almondbury resident Deborah Twigger, 66, said: “We hope they will reject the proposals and refer it to the secretary of state.

“The thought of having a hospital with just 64 beds when we have 400 at the moment is just too extreme.”

A decision on whether to refer the plans to Jeremy Hunt is expected at around 1pm today.”