Socialist Worker

Huddersfield NHS revolt

by Roger Keely
Issue No. 1984

About 1,500 people marched through Huddersfield town centre on Saturday of last week in a protest against hospital cuts. It was larger than the first protest before Christmas.

Nearly all maternity and related services, including a popular special baby unit, will be transferred to the PFI hospital in Halifax if the trust management have their way.

These plans are opposed by all the midwives, as well as all the ambulance drivers, contrary to claims by senior managers and consultants during the big “consultation” meetings.

St Luke’s Hospital, the main centre for the already inadequate mental health services, is earmarked for closure in order to save money.

Other services are also planned for relocation. The chair of the Huddersfield Save Our NHS campaign, Graham Hellawell, who works with mental patients, emphasised that the mass campaign is against the whole package proposed by the trusts, not just the transfer of the very popular maternity services.

Part of the background is the opening six years ago of the new PFI-financed hospital in Halifax, with all the financial pressures which that has created.

It has also been pointed out that the combined income last year of 41 senior hospitals managers in the area was over £6 million, which must also put some pressure on services.

As well as two huge dem­onstrations, campaigners have organised a petition signed by over 20,000 people already.

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Sat 21 Jan 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1984
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