Calderdale Labour group are urging the Council to ask the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust to withdraw their controversial proposals for Calderdale Royal Hospital, Labour group leader Tim Swift said today.
Cllr Swift announced details of the resolution that he intends to table at the special meeting to discuss the NHS proposals next Wednesday (April 16th).
Cllr Swift said:
“I understand the enormous pressures faced by the three provider organisations, and particularly by the hospital trust. They clearly feel that, trapped between rising demand, a shortage of vital trained staff in some areas, and inadequate funding, they have to propose radical changes.
“But in our view the current proposals leave too many unanswered questions; they ask local people to take a leap of faith to accept that adequate community services will be put in place to replace the hospital services that are lost; and at a time of great uncertainty about the future shape of health services, they would require a commitment to a massive programme of capital investment particularly in the Huddersfield site.
“Right now, the public debate has been dominated by the future provision of Accident and Emergency. In this area and in many others, most people simply cannot understand why the answer to rising demand is apparently to significantly reduce capacity.”
Labour’s resolution goes on to call for a new approach to consulting local people and professionals about the future of health and care in the area.
Cllr Swift added:
“We believe that the best way forward would be to set up an arms-length commission to take evidence and listen to public views about the way forward for health and care. Ideally, this would include representatives of both Councils and both Clinical Commissioning Groups, together with independent experts. Their role would include taking evidence from local organisations including the hospital Trust and the Ambulance Service; considering relevant research; and commissioning local consultation and debate.
“Local people are passionate about the NHS and about our local services. As long as the current proposals remain on the table, too many will believe that the changes are a ‘done deal’ and by cynical about any engagement or consultation exercise. We believe the path we are outlining provides a better way which will lead to the development of further options for the shape of future services.”
The Labour motion to Council reads:-
This Council :-
- Notes that the Strategic Outline Case produced by Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, Locala Community Partnerships, and South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust, and particularly the ‘preferred option’ identified by CHNT, has generated wide spread public concern and debate about the future of hospital services in Calderdale;
- Further notes that in November this Council called on all partners “to develop the longer-term strategic means of ensuring continued, safe and appropriate access to 24-hour urgent and emergency care within Calderdale, in full consultation with the public”; and
- Believes that the preferred option does not guarantee this.
This Council therefore calls on the three provider Trusts to withdraw the proposals set out in the Strategic Outline Case, and in particular the ‘preferred option’, to enable the two local authorities and the two Clinical Commissioning Groups to lead an open consultation about future health and social care provision in Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield.”
Council believes this will be best achieved by the establishment of a health and care commission, to take evidence, lead consultation and produce proposals regarding future health and social care provision across the Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield health and social care economy, and requests Cabinet to take all necessary steps to secure this outcome.