ONE THOUSAND people turned out to protest against plans to close the A&E at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary last night, Monday.
They were at a public meeting organised by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as part of the consultation process over the plans.
About 500 people got into the meeting, but another 500 were locked out, even though the CCG had been warned the room was too small. During the evening the CCG were forced to concede that they would hold another meeting.
The majority of those locked out stayed on outside for a public meeting of their own. For two hours they kept up a barrage of speeches, chanting and singing, which culminated in a vote of no confidence in the CCG.The chanting could clearly be heard inside.
The outsiders were kept informed by texts about what was happening in the meeting and started chanting some of the questions that the CCG were failing to answer.
June, a retired community worker who got inside the meeting said it was a “disgrace and a shambles”.She said, “There were lots of good questions and very poor answers” and that the protesters who got the chance to speak were passionate and convincing and criticised every aspect of the plans, proving that they were unworkable.
She added, ”The problem is that the CCG has already made up its mind. There is no plan B.”
The CCG was forced to admit that the main rationale behind the plan was financial, not clinical.People’s medical needs are expected to take second place to the financial needs of the hospitals’ Trust and the PFI debt on the Halifax hospital.
Glyn, an ex-miner, said he was disgusted by the CCG, who were making it up as they went along and failed to answer any questions properly. He thought the whole process was corrupt.
The protesters, both in and out of the meeting, are determined to carry on. They plan another march and rally.