Doctors from the Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have said that the response time of an ambulance is more important than the time it takes to get to a hospital.
Dr Alan Brook, Dr Steven Cleasby and Dr Nigel Taylor sat down with the Courier to discuss the proposals for changes to health service in our area with the debate focussed on the potential loss of A&E from Calderdale Royal Hosptial.
Courier readers and politicians have said they are worried about the damage increased travel time (estimated at 15 minutes) to Huddersfield could cause to chances of survival in an emergency.
Dr Cleasby, assistant clinical chair, said: “Response time is vital. Then it’s about getting to the right hospital for the right treatment. If we thought it was a more dangerous setup we wouldn’t vote for it in the future.
“If we are looking at more effective, better, safer emergency services surely that’s what people want - if it’s a few more miles away but it will improve your chance of survival then that’s an improvement.”
Dr Brook, chair of the CCG, said: “Would you want to spend your resources on two A&Es if the performance was not as good as one sole unit? The new model is absolutely dependent on a number of other services being redesigned ouside of hospital.”
Dr Taylor, member of the CCG governing body, said: “It’s not just A&E. This is about redeveloping the whole gamut and it’s a very exciting opportunity for the health services.”
A National Clinical Advisory Team (NCAT) report found that a shortage of specialist doctors in hospitals meant changes needed to be made to the local model and the doctors warned there aren’t enough specialists in training let alone in the system.
Dr Brook said: “It is being wrongly portayed as an attempt to save money when in fact it is part of a national drive to improve emergency care in the wake of the Keogh report.”
Communications lead Martin Carter said: “The £50 million saving figure isn’t a cut. It could be invested in the service in a different way.”
Responding to the concerns raised by Courier readers in recent weeks Dr Brook said the reaction was “understandable”.
“We are extremely mindful of the public concerns about this. We want to do our best to explain what is being proposed and come to an agreement with them.”
Communications lead Martin Carter said the strategic review has already engaged with 5,000 members of the public and final proposals will be drawn up and put out for public consultation by the late summer.