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Regional daily launches bid to save hospital’s A&E unit

A bid to keep a hospital’s accident and emergency department open has been launched by a regional daily.

The Huddersfield Daily Examiner is running the campaign to keep A&E coverage in the Yorkshire town after health chiefs announced plans to close the unit at the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

The closure would mean patients would require a five-mile journey to Calderdale Royal Hospital, in Halifax, for treatment.

NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups which run health services in the area say it could save £240m – but the Examiner says Huddersfield is a growing town which needs “first-class health services”.

Huddersfield HRI

The campaign was launched on yesterday’s front page, pictured above and was accompanied by a comment piece by the Examiner’s head of news, Neil Atkinson.

It read: “It could not be more simple: Huddersfield has to keep itsA&E unit. It needs to safeguard the thousands of children, pensioners, students and ordinary folk who one day may urgently need help from the Royal Infirmary .

“So the Examiner today throws its weight behind the campaign to prevent our A&E coverage being switched to Calderdale.

“We will do all we can to support those individuals and those groups who have petitioned to save the unit.”

The newspaper acknowledged that health chiefs faced difficult decisions, but Neil added:  “One thing is clear: Huddersfield is a growing town with a need for first-class health services.

“And those decisions should not be based on the need to tackle debt problems brought about by a private finance deal negotiated in Halifax and signed more than 20 years ago. It was a deal done to bring a new hospital to Halifax but it is a deal that is clearly unfair and unworkable.

“It is wrong for the people of Huddersfield to be asked to bail out a debt that was nothing to do with the town. When the two health trusts merged, there should have been clear guidelines over how the debt was managed.

“Huddersfield Royal Infirmary is OUR hospital in OUR town. If it is to be replaced, then it should be replaced with something better, not something cheaper.”

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