The new £15 million A&E at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary is on schedule to open in August 2023.

Work on the single-storey building, on South Drive with access off Acre Street, started last December. The exterior walls have gone up and the building is watertight, allowing internal works to get underway.

Dr Mark Davies, consultant in emergency medicine at the Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, gave an update of the scheme to councillors on the Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee.

He said the A&E is due to be completed in July next year and operational in August.

Dr Davies said the A&E would be 50% bigger than the existing A&E at the other side of the hospital and facilities would be “state-of-the-art” and “significantly different” to what’s there now.

There would be a separate paediatrics area with dedicated seating areas for children away from adults. It will also have integrated x-ray facilities.

The internal decoration and colour scheme will be based on the theme of the “waterways of Huddersfield.”

Dr Davies said the building was impressive and “looks like somewhere you would like to work and be looked after.”

He said there would be a “new workforce model” and a change in working practices which meant that health support staff could also carry out portering.

The new A&E is part of a £196.5 million reconfiguration of hospital services which would see Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax become the main centre for acute emergency care while HRI would specialise in planned surgery.

All blue light emergency ambulances will eventually go to a new A&E at Calderdale.

A new learning centre and a multi-storey car park are being built at Calderdale as part of the scheme but the final reconfiguration plans have yet to receive full approval.

The meeting was told an ‘outline business case’ had been approved by NHS England and the Department for Health but was still awaiting the go ahead from the Treasury. That had been delayed due to the current uncertainty at government level.

Once that approval was given a ‘full business case’ with detailed costings would be drawn up, which could be towards the end of 2023.

The meeting was told that a £40 million contingency had been built in to cope with inflation and the rising cost of construction and materials. New estimates were going to be sought by the Trust in November 2022 to see how inflation had impacted the scheme.

Completion of the whole reconfiguration scheme was previously estimated for 2026 but the current uncertainty means Trust officials are reluctant to put a timescale on it.

Scroll through the gallery below to see what the A&E could look like inside and how building work progressed on site

Over the last two years well over £6 million has been invested into HRI itself. This included £4 million on a new Ward 18 which is made up of single rooms; £2 million on a new learning centre; and £200,000 on new staff changing facilities.

A backlog of maintenance is also being tackled which includes windows, generators and emergency lighting. Asbestos removal is also ongoing.

Future works for the reconfiguration will see ward improvements and new operating theatres to create a Planned Care Centre at HRI.

Currently patients can walk into A&Es at both Huddersfield and Calderdale. Any patient from either Huddersfield or Halifax taken by ambulance after a stroke, cardiac or respiratory problem, unwell children or women with maternity issues are automatically taken to Calderdale A&E.

Patients with injuries, abdominal pain or major trauma go to Huddersfield. When the new A&E opens at HRI that will stay the same.

It will only change after the whole reconfiguration is completed and all acute services are moved to Calderdale, which will be several years away. All blue light emergencies will eventually go to Calderdale.