Hands off Huddersfield Royal Infirmary!
In January, it was reported that Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’s (HRI) Accident and Emergency department could be knocked down as part of the Government’s plan to ‘downgrade’ hospital services in the town.
The local community are in uproar about it and a petition by Laura Pearson on 38 degrees has nearly reached 15,000 signatures.
If HRI is demolished, Calderdale Royal Hospital will then become the nearest A&E – a further six miles out of the way for local residents.
A draft public consultation document by Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) said relocating A&E services to Halifax’s Calderdale Royal would be ‘value for money’.
Communities have since banded together on social media to fight for the A&E to remain at HRI. A Facebook group called ‘Let’s save Huddersfield A&E’ was set up by Karl Deitch and now has nearly 50,000 members.
A similar number have signed a Parliamentary petition and a big march is planned starting from St George’s Square at 11.30am on Saturday 27th February.
The closure of HRI’s A&E could be the start of a bigger plan to demolish the HRI completely, which would lead to hundreds of job losses and the potential loss of lives – increasing the strain on over-stretched Primary Care services in rural areas where resources are already limited.
A new hospital for planned care but no A&E has been proposed for development at Acre Mill in Huddersfield.
The head Imam of Ghausia Mosque and chairman of the Suffah Foundation, Shaykh Umar Hayat Qadri, is just one community leader who is supporting the #HandsOffHRI campaign.
Students at the mosque, located in Lockwood, Huddersfield, spent an entire class creating posters and a short video for Facebook, to show their backing of the campaign.
The posters have been pinned to the notice-board of the mosque to help raise awareness in the wider community about the severity of this issue.
Imam Umar Hayat Qadri, addressed over 800 visitors during Friday prayers at the mosque last week, urging them to sign the online petition.
He said: “We are all worse off without an Accident and Emergency ward at HRI. There will be lives put at risk due to the extra time it takes to reach Halifax.”
The chairman of the Mosque, Mohammad Rafi, added: “We must back the Save Our Hospital campaign by supporting the rallies, by signing the petitions, by lobbying our local MP’s and making this a cohesive community effort to do all we positively can to prevent the closure of the A&E department.”
The support of the mosque has engaged many members of the South Asian community and has been most appreciated by those leading the #HandsOffHRI campaign.
Should the HRI close its A&E, those who find themselves in a life threatening accident or emergency situation in Huddersfield would have to be taken to Halifax, Wakefield or Barnsley for treatment, or across the Peak District to Oldham or east Manchester.
The draft public consultation document said: “You may wonder why we are now proposing Calderdale Royal Hospital as the site for the Emergency Centre and not Huddersfield Royal Infirmary as initially suggested by Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.
“The model of care we are proposing sets out what we believe to be the best way to provide care for our local population.”
It continued: “The total funding required, including the funding to develop Calderdale Royal Hospital as the Emergency Centre would be £470m, compared to £501m if we were to develop Huddersfield Royal Infirmary to be the Emergency Centre.”