Plans for the future of hospitals in Halifax and Huddersfield will be revealed today amid fears one of the towns could lose its accident and emergency department.
A joint meeting being held today of Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield CCGs will decide whether a public consultation can be launched on the proposals.
The public meeting will be held at 1.30pm at the Briar Court Hotel, Halifax Road, Huddersfield.
Plans published last week revealed Halifax could keep its emergency department after health bosses reportedly decided to centralise A&E services at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
The hospital looks to have been chosen as the main A&E site for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.
The two Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) which control the local NHS budget are planning to restructure services at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.
Plans include: “The development of a central emergency centre will provide specialist and acute emergency care for seriously-ill and injured patients.”
Either Calderdale or Huddersfield Royal Infirmary could become the trust’s main A&E, with one site mainly used for planned NHS care .
Both would have an “urgent care centre”.
Halifax MP Holly Lynch has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to make sure Halifax’s A&E remains open.
She said: “I am hopeful that we will have much more clarity within the coming days about exactly what reconfiguration plans might mean for both Calderdale Royal Hospital and Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, ending months of speculation.”
But Tory Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker said the plans included investment and improved services at both hospitals. He said: “I have always said it’s scare-mongering - we are not seeing any closure of an A&E.
“What we are seeing is huge investment in services and hospital buildings across both sites which will benefit both areas.”
Under the plans, either hospital was to provide “all acute and emergency care and clinically high risk planned care”, an earlier report said.
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman said he was shocked to learn of the decision that Calderdale would be the main A&E site
He said: “I love Hailfax dearly but the fact of the matter is Huddersfield is a large town and a big university town.
“I think people in Halifax are going to be astonished too.
“We need to have a free and frank conversation about this. We all want the best healthcare for everyone.”
Mr Sheerman said the plan did involve some more facilities for Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI).
But he added: “It’s not guaranteed. Where’s the money going to come from?”
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust is expected to have a deficit of £25m by the end of this financial year.
The trust is also making costly repayments for Calderdale Royal Hospital, which is being leased back from the private sector after being built under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme.
Jason McCartney, the MP for Colne Valley, tweeted: “Shocked & appalled that we could lose our A&E at HRI because of Halifax’s crippling PFI debt.”
It has been forecast that NHS services in Calderdale and Huddersfield face a £155m funding shortfall by 2021.
But health bosses have insisted the A&E changes are to provide the safest care possible and are not financially motivated.