TOP SECRET; CAMPAIGNERS CALL IN THE LAWYERS IN A BID TO FORCE OUT THE TRUTH FURY OVER WHY PARTS OF HUDDERSFIELD ROYAL INFIRMARY'S A&E BUSINESS CASE ARE TO REMAIN SECRET.
SECRETIVE health bosses have admitted they will not show the public or councillors their fully costed plan to reconfigure Huddersfield Royal Infirmary ... for now.
Key financial details over the controversial hospital shake-up will be kept under wraps at the crunch meeting over the infirmary's fate in two weeks.
The plan, which includes the loss of full A&E services to Halifax and the potential demolition of the Lindley hospital site, was supposed to be revealed in full on July 21.
It has now been confirmed only partial details will be unveiled.
The meeting will still go ahead, the Examiner can confirm.
A joint committee of Kirklees and Calderdale councillors have now been told they will only get "extracts" from the plan in order to make their decision on whether to support it or refer it for review by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel - experts in NHS service change who advise the Secretary of State for Health.
Health campaigners have slammed the decision to withhold the so-called Full Business Case and said they are starting legal action.
On hearing the news Colne Valley MP, Thelma Walker, tweeted: "Shocking."
Mike Ramsden, chairman of Let's Save HRI, said: "It's what we've come to expect; cavalier attitude, total disregard for proper process or the views of local people."
Mike Forster, chairman of Official Hands Off HRI, said: "It's massively disappointing that they are failing to acknowledge a process they had agreed to follow."
Mr Forster said the solicitors acting for the two health campaigns would now be pursuing action to have the full details revealed in time for the meeting.
He added: "We're pleased the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee is going ahead and we expect the Full Business Case to be presented to the JHSC.
"If it's not then they will have no other choice than to refer the whole matter to the Secretary of State for failing to follow process and putting forward a flawed plan."
The bid to alter the structure of hospital services is more than three years in the making.
Calderdale was originally slated to have its A&E downgraded but in January 2016 hospital bosses reversed the plan to put HRI in the crosshairs.
It is thought the inability to get out of the private finance deal at Calderdale Royal is the main factor behind the switch.
Clr Liz Smaje, joint chair of the JHSC, confirmed they had been expecting the full documentation from the Greater Huddersfield and Calderdale clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that they requested on February 23 by the end of June.
She said they had made inquiries with the CCGs and the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, who are writing the document, on why it had not arrived.
They were told that commercially sensitive information was in the document and so it would not be available to the public or committee.
CHFT, who are writing the document, will instead provide extracts for committee members to base their decision.
The papers that are being published will be done so on Kirklees Council's website on July 13.
Clr Liz Smaje, said: "All committee members fully understand the concerns of residents and campaigners, and we feel it is important that the meeting goes ahead in public on the day that is planned in order to provide the committee with the opportunity to review the information and to assess whether or not it addresses our concerns."
Owen Williams, chief executive of CHFT, said: "The Full Business Case is still in draft form at this moment in time.
"Once it's been through the our internal governance and shared with our regulators, we'll look to publicly share as much of the document as we can, subject to matters which might be assessed as commercial in confidence.
"In the meantime, information from the Full Business Case and a number of other documents will be used to address the recommendations from the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee and will be submitted to them by their deadline of July 13."
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|Publication:||Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)|
|Date:||Jul 8, 2017|
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