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Aaron Bailey, Huddersfield Socialist Party

“Let us in! Let us in!”

This chant echoed through the air as 2,000 people turned out to a public meeting proposing the closure of A&E services at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) in Yorkshire.

Most had to stand outside, as the local clinical commissioning group (CCG) had booked a room whose capacity was only 450. The A&E cutters were convinced no more than that would show up.

This showed once more the resistance and determination of the people of Huddersfield. We endured more than two hours standing in the cold to make our point to the CCG. They could hear every word we said, and seemed extremely intimidated by the pressure from the crowd both inside the meeting and outside.

CCG leaders made a short appearance outside before the meeting got underway. The angry crowd showered them with chants of “Shame on you!” They beat a hasty retreat behind security staff at John Smith’s Stadium.

The CCG has clearly not provided adequate facilities for people to attend the consultation on closure. The campaign has received legal advice that because of this, the consultation is flawed, and could be blocked through a legal challenge.

This was also the first demonstration for the ‘Youth for HRI’ campaign subgroup. It organised a feeder march of about 25 down to the protest. This brought together school, college and university students, plus young workers.


There was a strong turnout from young people. Several delivered excellent speeches, ranging from correcting the CCG’s misinformation, to personal stories about what the A&E had done for themselves or their loved ones.

Olivia Kidd, a member of Youth for HRI, said afterwards that there was “a fantastic turnout and an amazing show of support from everyone who came today.” She added that it was “an honour to speak at the demonstration.”

This was just the latest event in the ongoing rebellion to save the A&E not only at Huddersfield, but also at Calderdale Royal Hospital in the same trust. We want neither to be shut down. It is going to take an effort, but we will win this battle and save our A&E departments.