Rehab unit’s future under discussion

Doctor Tim Dalton and Trish Anderson from Wigan Borough CCG
Doctor Tim Dalton and Trish Anderson from Wigan Borough CCG

Health bosses are about to begin speaking to patients and employees about the future of a neurological rehab unit currently based in the borough.

Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is about to start the engagement exercise with people involved in the work of the Taylor Unit at Leigh Infirmary.

Staff, patients and their carers and families will be asked for their views on the preferred provider the CCG has identified to potentially take over running the service.

Public meetings are also being scheduled to take place in Wigan and Leigh, probably next month, on the details of the changes.

The CCG was forced to seek an alternative provider to get people who have suffered serious brain or nerve injuries back on their feet and living as independently as possible either at home or in care after Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust gave notice it did not wish to be in charge of the service any longer.

The CCG said it had considered other community facilities within the borough and spoken to the North West Boroughs NHS Foundation Trust about using the new mental health hospital in Leigh but these options had proved unviable.

The group said it understood the changes would be concerning for those working at the unit or having loved ones cared for there but it would seek to resolve as many issues with a potential move as it could.

Trish Anderson, chief officer at Wigan CCG, said: “We do recognise that any changes to services are going to be unsettling and cause anxiety for patients, staff and families.

“What we want is somewhere safe that gives people the best chance of the best recovery in a great environment.

“Change is difficult. People get used to a ward, like the staff and feel safe, even if it has flaws, because it has got them through dark times in their lives.

“We want to understand people’s concerns and do as much as we can to deal with it.”

The Leigh location currently does not meet Greater Manchester standards as it is on a first floor and has issues providing 24-hour medical cover.

The CCG is working with the commissioning service in Bolton as the new provider will cover both as one of four hubs across the region.

The CCG acknowledged the uncertainty since WWL gave notice has led to staff moving on from the Taylor Unit but stressed the new provider would have to demonstrate an ability to recruit enough employees to keep the 20-bed capacity.

Access is also likely to be a key point in the discussions for both patients and their relatives and staff.

Ms Anderson said: “People want service right next to where they live but it’s never going to work for everybody.”-