Calderdale NHS shake-up: longer journey times to A&E

Calderdale Royal Hospital
Calderdale Royal Hospital

Plans to centralise A&E care in Halifax could lead to longer ambulances journeys to hospital for people in parts of Calderdale and Huddersfield.

The average journey time for ambulances in the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust area would increase by more than six minutes under the proposed shake-up.

Average car journeys to hospital would increase by up to 20 minutes and some bus journeys by more than 45 minutes if the plans go ahead, it is estimated.

Health bosses are planning to downgrade Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’s A&E to an urgent care centre under plans which are about to go out to public consultation.

Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH) would become a centralised A&E for the two towns and Huddersfield’s main hospital site could be knocked down.

An analysis of the impact on travel times to A&E is set out in consultation documents drawn up by Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

The travel analysis said the average journey time for patients being taken to A&E was currently 15.94 minutes.

If Halifax became the centralised A&E centre, the average journey time would rise to 22.42 minutes, compared to 21.48 minutes if Huddersfield was the main emergency department.

NHS bosses believe it would be safer to take patients to a single A&E where all the specialist services and staff would be based.

The consultation report said: “Although the ambulance journey is a little longer, all of the specialist services needed would be available at the Emergency Care Centre at CRH.”

Patients who need specialist care for heart attacks or burns are already taken directly to Leeds or Wakefield.

Travel times for people visiting relatives in A&E by car and public transport would also increase, according to the independent travel analysis.

The report said: “It shows that the changes in car journey times for the areas served by both hospitals are all likely to be between 15 and 20 minutes extra.

“The changes are similar whether patients have to travel to HRI instead of CRH or vice versa.

“However, it showed the impact on journey times for people using public transport is likely to be greater than that for car users.

“Several areas including the south of Huddersfield, the south of Halifax, the Queensbury/Ovenden area, Stainland, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden are likely to have increases of more than 45 minutes in journey times.”