Calderdale Royal Hospital

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:24 pm on 12th December 2013.

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Photo of Linda Riordan Linda Riordan Labour, Halifax 4:24 pm, 12th December 2013

I am delighted to have secured this Adjournment debate on such an important issue for my constituents and for the Halifax and Calderdale area. This goes to the very heart—the very essence—of what people should be able to expect from their national health service, what services they should get from their local hospital, and how they should have confidence that well-run, popular and accessible services like Calderdale Royal hospital accident and emergency department will not be cut back or closed. However, for some time now Calderdale Royal hospital’s accident and emergency department has been under threat. It is an issue that has been simmering away in my constituency and recently the rumours have turned to reality as the Government and local health bosses, much to the anger of local people, have refused to guarantee that Calderdale’s A and E department is safe.

I shall briefly set out some of the background to this issue. In 2001 Halifax’s general and royal infirmaries merged with Northowram hospital to become Calderdale Royal. Over the last decade it has served the area extremely well. It has excellent, dedicated and well-qualified staff who provide a first-class health service to people across the district. It serves many diverse communities in Halifax and Calderdale, and its reach extends to the Lancashire border and to communities bordering Bradford. Therefore, a wide geographical area needs, and relies on, Calderdale Royal, and in particular its A and E department.

In recent months, as speculation has risen that the axe could fall on the town’s A and E, so has the sense of public outrage that such a short-sighted, unnecessary and unwanted decision is even under consideration, let alone that there is the possibility of its being implemented. United against that are hospital users, health campaigners, trade unions and Calderdale council. I have yet to find anyone who would be in favour of such a decision.

I know the Minister will say that nothing has yet been proposed, but nothing has been denied either. Indeed, I have asked in this House if Calderdale’s A and E is safe and no one has confirmed that it is.