Review letter blasts HRI downgrade plan
In it, members of the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee (JHSC) say they were repeatedly left without answers to their questions.
Echoing the thoughts of Mike Ramsden, chairman of campaign group Let’s Save HRI, (who has called for mass resignations) councillors noted that the final proposal was significantly different from the one that members of the public were consulted on.
The letter says the scrutiny committee was not aware of significant changes to the plan until July 12 – only eight days before their crunch decision was due.
This was despite telling health chiefs in January that they required a full report by the end of June. Unexpected alterations included: Reducing the proposed Acre Mills hospital from 120 to 64 beds. Moving more planned care to Calderdale. Slashing 500 more jobs than first mooted. There were also changes in the long term financial forecast and news that the plan could only be funded by a Private Finance Initiative.
On the bed reduction councillors said the reasons were not explained and the public had not been properly consulted.
The letter also raised fears that promises that a doctor would be present at the proposed urgent care centre at all times had been backtracked on.
It said “real concerns” expressed by the public “should not be ignored’.’
Councillors said they expected to receive a “suite of documents” from the clinical commissioning groups to address all their concerns with the plan but instead got a single document, the Full Business Case, from the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Hospital Trust which runs the Infirmary.
Joint health scrutiny committee members also said they noted that 80% of the public were against the plan and questioned whether “sufficient weight had been given to the need and choice of local residents’.’
The letter added: “The joint committee would also ask whether the decision to proceed with the proposals is consistent with NHS values which aim to put the needs of patients and communities first.”
Councillors also doubted whether plans to reduce unplanned admissions to hospitals by 18% were achievable.