Green light for Wigan's £15m NHS plan

Costs should be driven down at Wigan Infirmary
Costs should be driven down at Wigan Infirmary

Health leaders have been awarded £15.43m to support a mini-revolution in the way NHS services are delivered in the borough.

Efforts to drive down costs at Wigan Infirmary by offering more care-based housing, introducing a neighbourhood-based approach to mental health services and extending the Heart of Wigan programme, will be supported by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Strategic Partnership Board.

But regional health chiefs are seeking reassurances regarding how rising levels of patient activity at the likes of Wigan and Leigh Infirmaries can be tackled, before the funding, sought by health trusts and Wigan Council, is fully released.

Board members were also told that there remains a £2.7m funding gap in the Wigan proposals, which needs to be addressed.

The first slice of transformation funding, totalling more than £15m, was approved by the GM board in late 2016.

And it was always envisaged that a second phase, focusing on delivering more health and social services in homes, communities and GP practices, would be required.

Dr Tim Dalton, chairman of Wigan Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "This funding will help us to transform further local services for the benefit of those who need them.

"We are working closely with our partners to make sure we meet their requirements to release the funding."

Councillors on the health board have been told that partners in Wigan had agreed to fund new models of care, while using the transformation funds to support existing services, approaching the issue the opposite way around to most Greater Manchester locality bids.

In a report to the board Steve Wilson, finance executive lead for the partnership, said there had been two detailed assessments of Wigan’s proposals before they were recommended for approval.

Wigan Infirmary has come under heavy pressure in recent weeks, with routine surgery cancelled to help medics deal with soaring levels of accident and emergency cases.