WIGANERS face weeks of anxiety with the future status of Wigan Infirmary in the balance as a result of health reforms, the town’s MP has said.
This week doctors behind the Healthier Together (HT) shake-up opted for four super-hospitals across Greater Manchester instead of five.
The verdict lengthens the odds on Wigan’s receiving specialist designation. Hospital bosses have previously said that to miss out on this status could pose a threat to services.
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy today blasted the HT process for ignoring the results of its public consultation, which showed more than 75 per cent wanting the five super-hospital option. She said: “Despite an overwhelming majority of people expressing a clear preference for five and not four specialist sites, HT has made an announcement which will only cause more anxiety across Wigan. WWL has been working with Bolton and Salford in the interest of patients in trying to find a proposal that would meet criteria and safeguard our A&E and specialist services. Unfortunately, HT has not made clear whether they accept this proposal nor provided any detail about the infirmary’s future.”
Three hospitals - Central Manchester, Oldham and Salford - are already assured of top tier status, which leaves Wigan vying with Stepping Hill, Wythenshawe and Bolton for the remaining place. HT bosses will confirm locations next month although Stepping Hill looks favourite because Wigan and Bolton have joined forces with Salford.
Ms Nandy added: “After a shambolic, expensive and catastrophically handled process it’s time HT got their act together and reassured the public that they have listened and will accept the case put forward by Wigan, Bolton and Salford which is backed by thousands of people across the borough and is clearly in the best interests of patients.”
Wigan Trust and Clinical Commissioning Group was quick to reassure residents about A&E’s future. A statement read: “Our valued and important A&E remains protected and will see an increase in the number of senior consultants available to care for patients.”
HT bosses say the reforms will allow for care standard improvements.