Accident and emergency unit must be saved!

Wigan A and E department

Wigan A and E department

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HEALTH chiefs today pledged to fight for Wigan’s Accident and Emergency services after reports claimed the department could be scrapped.

Despite being praised in a recent report for the level of care, the A&E department at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary gives to its patients, it is one of seven hospitals in Greater Manchester fighting to retain the service.

A report leaked to the media revealed that under new plans, three major trauma centres will be established in Manchester, which will specialise in different areas, with the other hospitals battling to retain their casualty departments.

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Those which do not retain A&E departments will be turned into ‘urgent care’ units, with the most serious cases being transferred out of the borough.

The urgent care units would continue to treat the majority of emergency patients – including heart attacks.

But those with more serious injuries would be diverted to trauma units at Manchester Royal Infirmary, Salford Royal and Wythenshawe Hospital. Health bosses claim the plans would save at least 20 lives a year, and give better and faster treatment to people who suffer life-threatening accidents and injuries.

Mike Cheshire, medical director at NHS North West, who led the review, said: “The aim is to improve services for major trauma victims, which is the biggest killer of the under-40s, in Greater Manchester and the North West.”

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Earlier this month, it was revealed that the A&E department at Wigan Infirmary was the best performing department in the region.

But the reports leaked to the media suggest that as few as three of the seven hospitals will be needed as trauma units.

However, top doctors at Wigan Infirmary say they are actively involved in securing A&E services.

A spokesman for Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL), which runs Wigan Infirmary, said: “Since the commencement of the Major Trauma Review Process 12 months ago, Mr Tony Clayson, consultant orthopaedic trauma surgeon at WWL, has been an active member of the clinical reference group, which is advising on the reconfiguration of trauma services.

“The Trust has therefore been fully aware of this development and is not only leading the North West in the provision of major pelvic trauma services, but is actively engaged in ensuring requirements are met to establish WWL as a trauma unit within the Greater Manchester major trauma system.”