Hands off HRI Campaign were recently tipped off about planned major ward closures at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. The A&E Dept would no longer have been properly supported by vital Cardiology and Respiratory acute wards, as the Trust were, on the quiet, intending to relocate them to Calderdale Royal Hospital by the end of September.

These ‘stealth changes’ would have meant, the Campaign understands, an end to a fully-functioning A&E and Acute Services at HRI. It could have pre-determined the outcome of the legal process and the ongoing review of the closure proposals by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. Once emergency and acute services were moved to Calderdale it would have been a classic case of a ‘fait accompli’ with little chance of resurrecting Huddersfield’s A&E.

Hands off HRI took immediate action, instructing their solicitors, who warned the CCGs and the NHS Trust to “cease all actions which could render the continuation of current services unviable at any stage in the future”.  And such actions could make a mockery of the consultation process “undermining any consultation and decision making and rendering the commitment to consult and engage with stakeholders futile”. They could also be “at odds with the reality of any final decision in the future, and… not take account of the serious reservations expressed by the [Kirklees and Calderdale] Joint Health Scrutiny Committee”.

While there was no admission of knowledge of the planned closures by the CCGs or the Trust, Hands off HRI have full confidence that the information is well founded. In fact, they’ve just received further information: the closures will not, after all, be going ahead. This is great news and a small victory for the campaigners and the people of Huddersfield who depend on their local hospital.

However, Hands off HRI ask the people of Huddersfield to stay alert for any further stealth changes and would ask that any information be forwarded to the info.handsoffhri@gmail.com email address where any information will be handle in strict confidence.

A spokesman for the Legal and Finance Committee of Hands Off HRI commented that it is rumoured that the closures may now be rescheduled for later this year.

The campaign continues to fundraise for the impending Judicial Review and Hands Off HRI Upper Colne Valley will be present at the Marsden Jazz Festival over this coming weekend. Should you be unable to attend this event you can also catch up with the latest campaign news at www.Officialhandsoffhri.org, our new website which will officially launch soon.  The web page syncs alongside the popular Facebook Group and photographs and posts of the groups recent visit to Manchester, last Sunday, at the Conservative Party Conference can be seen.  Hands Off HRI joined with Health Campaigners from across the country; Barnsley, Leeds, Chorley, Lincolnshire, Bristol to name a few, to protest about Government cuts and privatisation of the NHS and the resulting closures in their local communities.  The march encompassed some 50,000 protestors taking a route past the Conference Venue.

Hands Off HRI would like to thank the community of Kirklees for their continuing support of the campaign to save Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.