STRUCTURE: Two Yorkshire clinical commissioning groups have shelved plans to consult on a hospital reconfiguration that could result in the closure of an accident and emergency unit.

Greater Huddersfield and Calderdale CCGs opted to postpone a public consultation into a proposed shake-up of hospital services at Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust in their August governing body meetings.

They have not yet set a date for when it will resume.

The trust currently runs two hospitals: Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital.

Under the proposals, one of these would become an acute and emergency specialist hospital, while the other would be a “planned specialist hospital” and so lose its A&E.

The plans have been subject to local criticism, including from Halifax MP Linda Riordan and the local campaign group ‘Band Together for the NHS’, led by trade union Unison.

They had been jointly developed by the trust and other providers Locala Community Partnerships and South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust, all three of which have also proposed a new community services model for Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield.

The CCGs originally planned to begin consulting in September on changes to both community and hospital services.

Their plans for community services will go ahead after they decided sufficient public engagement had been carried out already.

In a joint statement to HSJ, the CCGs said they “believe on the basis of the significant engagement which has been conducted so far, they will persuade people of the need for change in the way that hospital services are configured, by putting in place enhanced and integrated community services in advance”.

The statement continues: “It is the considered view of both CCGs that this approach is more likely to deliver the long term health system improvements which the public want and deserve.”

Calderdale CCG chair Alan Brook said: “No decision has been made by the CCGs around what the changes to the hospital would be.

“This can only happen once we have direct experience of an effective community model.

“Hospital reconfiguration can only be implemented following public consultation and both CCGs are fully committed to a public consultation at the right time.”