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29 November 2017

'Hands around HRI' to save Huddersfield A&E

Fighting 'closure by stealth'

Mike Forster, chair, Hands off HRI campaign

The campaign to save Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, Hands Off HRI, has called a protest on 2 December in solidarity with staff and patients.

Two weeks ago the local NHS trust announced plans to centralise some services by moving wards to nearby Halifax, claiming this was due to staff shortages and a looming winter crisis.

We have explained this is part of a 'closures by stealth' programme by the trust. Although it has claimed the wards will be reopened, no one believes them. Especially since the wards earmarked for closure would be part of their plan to close the A&E anyway.

The people of Huddersfield remain very angry and worried about the implications of these cuts. One woman contacted the campaign to tell us her grandmother is seriously ill on one of the wards and any move could kill her.

Thousands of leaflets have been distributed, and twice-weekly stalls have been taking place, calling people to action.

Of course the campaign is still pursuing a full judicial review against the planned moves, and has now secured legal aid to take the case all the way. At the same time, local councillors vetoed the plans earlier this year, and have referred the whole matter to the government's 'Independent Reconfiguration Panel' which can order a rethink.

So the campaign goes on. It continues to attract new supporters every week due to high-profile events and ongoing local support.

The protest is supported by all local MPs - two of whom will be joining the protest - as well as local councillors. As the campaign approaches its second anniversary, morale remains high. Campaigners are hopeful the judicial review can force the trust back to the drawing board.

Protestors will assemble at Reinwood playing fields at 11.30am on 2 December, before marching to the hospital to join hands and rally at the main gates just after midday. Everyone is welcome.