Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:24 pm on 12th December 2013.
I have met the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust CEO and doctors and other clinicians. They say—and they gave out a document for me to read—that changes are afoot. That is coming from inside the hospital and the council, and from the general public. So, again, I ask the Minister to rule out the possible closure or even any cuts.
All I have been told is that a strategic document is available on the future of local services. Frankly, my constituents do not need to read jargon-filled paragraphs about clinical decisions. They know when something is right or wrong, and they know that what matters in Halifax is the continuation of our good local health service, with an accident and emergency department free at the point of need. They do not want that service to be in Huddersfield, Dewsbury or Bradford. They want it where it is, in Halifax, serving the communities that I represent and those of Calderdale.
I have read and heard a lot in recent weeks about how A and E departments need reforming. I have heard that too many of the people using them could be seen elsewhere. I am afraid that that is a weak argument. The whole point of the service is to deal with accidents as well as emergencies. People cannot be told to use alternative services if their walk-in centres are closing, or if their doctor’s surgery has closed for the night or, when it is open, they cannot get an urgent appointment.