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From: The Socialist issue 957, 26 July 2017: Barts health strike: Low pay, no way!

Search site for keywords: Huddersfield - Socialist - Hospital - Health - Councillors - NHS

Huddersfield A&E closure referred to Jeremy Hunt

Hands Off HRI and other groups protesting in London, 10.10.16

Hands Off HRI and other groups protesting in London, 10.10.16   (Click to enlarge)

Matthew Hirst, Huddersfield Socialist Party

On 21 July, the greater Huddersfield and Calderdale Joint Health Scrutiny Committee (JHSC) referred the decision to close the A&E department at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and to downgrade the hospital to the health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

On 14 July the Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) released its full business case (FBC), a fortnight overdue from the original release due date, which came as a shock to the residents of Huddersfield.

From the original plans to have a 120-bed, cottage-style hospital, this was halved to only 64 beds, alongside a loss of nearly 500 jobs.

The residents of Huddersfield have been out in force though, with several daily sessions of leafleting in the town centre, and at many outlying villages and supermarkets, to raise awareness of the key meeting on the 21 July, between the CCG and the JHSC.

Over 10,000 leaflets were distributed, and some 5,000 names collected on petitions to show their opposition to the latest devastating news.

The people of Huddersfield turned out en masse to lobby the councillors on the JHSC. As they entered the town hall, local media from both ITV and BBC were present and filmed the crowd chanting passionately to defend their hospital and for the NHS as a whole.

Inside the building, local campaigners, councillors and MPs showed frustration and anger at the CCG's proposals.

After an agonising adjournment, the JHSC returned a verdict of 5-3 to refer the CCG's FBC to Jeremy Hunt. As the result came through, campaigners in the overspill room could be heard chanting "Jeremy Hunt, hear us say, HRI is here to stay!"

Whatever Jeremy Hunt decides, he can now no longer pretend that the Tories are not involved in the dismantling of the NHS by stating that these decisions are made at a local level.

Since the release of the FBC, Huddersfield Socialist Party members have been at the forefront of the leafleting campaign. In just a week, we have sold 130 copies of the Socialist and raised over 200 for the fighting fund.

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