On Tuesday 14th November, Cristina George, representing Hands Off HRI, delivered a deputation regarding the proposed closure of acute wards, from HRI to Calderdale Hospital.

The Councillors of JHSC approved the move of these wards, believing that this is a temporary measure to cope with an expected Winter Crisis, we believe this is a mistake and that the ward closures are in fact just that – the Trust has no intention of reopening them at Huddersfield.   Time will tell.

Cristina George Deputation to JHSC

The paper being considered today is, without doubt, the Trust moving towards the model that is outlined in their Full Business Case, and they are using a number of arguments to start the process of transferring acute care to Calderdale by stealth. Two of the 3 proposals billed as “interim” are in fact an early implementation of the FBC
The Paper refers (p3) to one of the issues to be addressed as “inequality to access acute frailty service, respiratory hot service and cardiology diagnostics and interventions”: the inequality in access will continue, although the sites for their services are being changed around.
The assertion that the transfers will create additional capacity is not proven in the paper. We are assured that there are no reductions in beds as a result of the transfers but no detail given of how additional capacity will be provided and where other than through bed optimisation, but no figures given for the expected numbers required or whether this change will meet the required numbers.
There are a number of figures included in the report – but – yet again the figures don’t seem to correlate within the paper or with NHS England Statistics, but what is clear is that – yet again – it is the people of Huddersfield who are going to be disadvantaged with more patients having to travel to Calderdale than the other way around.
Having said that the transfer of medicine for the elderly to Huddersfield will no doubt bring its own problems for the population of Calderdale.
Again and again the paper outlines the problems with Transport. The only answer to this issue being that there is a working group looking at this and that people can use the shuttle bus. This is not good enough. There is no indication of when the Transport Group will deliver their findings or of any interim reports that have been provided. We have endless reports from staff, patients and relatives who have contacted the campaign complaining about the proposed move and the added burden it will place on those who can least afford or cope with this.
This paper is written from a purely ‘hospital’ view. Yet again much store is put on Community Based Services (4). We know that GPs, District and Community based services are under enormous pressure and yet again the Trust is pushing more out into the community without any evidence that the community can take this on. There appears to be no transfer of funds to support this move. There are already services that GPs are being asked to undertake that were previously delivered in the hospital with very limited additional funding to cover costs. The Local Medical Committee have been vocal in their opposition to the Trust plans, and have not been consulted on these changes.
Anecdotal evidence from the ambulance service shows that the paramedics, those working on the ground, feel the move will make life more difficult for them, and, more importantly, the patients they deal with day in day out. Most are unwilling to give their views publicly as they are worried about reprisals, which for me says an awful lot. The same can be said for staff including doctors working at HRI many of whom feel their jobs are under threat and they are too frightened to come forward.