ALL communities served by Dewsbury and District Hospital must unite to fight for its future, a public meeting heard.
A crowd of around 60 people answered an open invite from the Dewsbury Socialist Party to start a community campaign to protect hospital services.
Already, thousands of people have signed various petitions opposed to the potential downgrading of local A&E services and changes to other services.
But meeting chairman Paul Wheelhouse said: “We need now to move it on to the next stage which is creating a campaign group. It really heartens me to see so many people here tonight. It shows the strength [of feeling] in the people out there.”
Wednesday’s meeting at Dewsbury Town Hall heard from families whose loved ones had been treated at Dewsbury A&E and those concerned about travelling elsewhere.
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust is currently looking at two options for services at Dewsbury, Pontefract, and Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield. But a formal consultation on a preferred option is not due until early next year.
Health campaigner Dr Jackie Grunsell said: “We don’t really know what the formal proposals will be. We need to anticipate what they might be and say to the Trust board that we want to be involved in that consultation now.”
She said there should be a referendum on the final proposals for all affected communities.
Unison’s Mid Yorkshire Health branch also pledged its support.
Its chairman Adrian O’Malley said: “We want decent services over all three sites. We don’t want people to have to travel.
“We’ve got to campaign to save all acute services at Dewsbury.”
The first meeting of the campaign organising committee is on Thursday at Dewsbury Socialist Club, Bradford Road, 7pm.
Anyone interested in helping to organise the campaign is welcome. Alternatively, contact Jackie Grunsell on 07814 223177.