The new A&E at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary will probably open in mid-May or early June – around eight months later than planned.

The new £1 million building was completed last summer and in September a series of open days were held for the public.

However, checks found that the wrong jointing compound had been used in water pipework and a “significant” amount of pipework has had to be ripped out and replaced.

Speaking at a meeting of the Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Overview Scrutiny Committee, emergency department consultant Dr Mark Davies confirmed that a lot of remedial work had taken place in the water system.

“We have replaced the jointing compound and removed a significant amount of pipework and replaced it. There is some work needed now on the taps and more testing,” he said.

“It’s now some time since we went through the transition so we now have five or six weeks of planning for the opening. We are looking to open some time in the middle of May or early June, which is a positive step forward.”

Clr Andrew Cooper (Green, Newsome) asked whether the jointing compound was an error by the contractor or the specification for the project, and who had paid for the remedial works.

Dr Davies replied: “All the remedial work has been paid for by the contractors.” He also explained that as it was a national contract there would be no compensation due to the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.

The current A&E has continued to operate so there has been no loss of service.

The meeting at Halifax Town Hall also heard an update on the planned reconfiguration of services at HRI and Calderdale Royal Hospital.

The Trust’s long-term plan is to shake-up services with ‘planned care’ at HRI and ‘unplanned care’ at the Halifax hospital.

A new Learning and Development Centre is due to be completed at Halifax this summer and preparations are underway for the construction of a new multi-storey car park.

The Trust’s plans have not yet received approval from the Treasury but the Trust “remains optimistic” that funding will be agreed some time in 2024.

The Trust has appointed a development partner and an announcement is due this week.

The meeting was also told that the maternity unit at Dewsbury & District Hospital – known as the Bronte Centre – would be re-opening from April 1 2024, however there was no timescale for when the maternity unit at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary would re-open.

The Huddersfield Birth Centre was “temporarily suspended” at the start of the pandemic in early 2020 and hasn’t re-opened since. The Bronte Centre closed in May 2022 due to staff shortages, sickness and staff maternity leave.

The Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has been working closely with the Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust, which runs Dewsbury hospital, to ensure one Kirklees birthing centre could re-open.

A national shortage of midwives and lifestyle choices of existing midwives to cut their hours to improve work-life balance are the reasons for staff shortages.

The meeting was also told that three midwives from Mid Yorkshire were taking a career break to go and work in New Zealand.

The Calderdale and Huddersfield Trust said they have a plan to recruit more midwives – including from overseas and newly-qualified graduates from the University of Huddersfield – but could give no indication of when the Huddersfield Birth Centre may re-open.