Infirmary misses out on specialist status

The new Accidents and Emergencies department, Wigan Infirmary.
The new Accidents and Emergencies department, Wigan Infirmary.
  • Wigan Infirmary will NOT be a super-hospital
  • Royal Albert Edward Infirmary will be under the umbrella of Salford
  • Christie facility, cardiology department and A&E services will carry on as normal
  • Wigan MP Lisa Nandy says decision “ignores” thousands of people

WIGAN Infirmary has been overlooked for super-hospital status as the experts behind the Healthier Together (HT) NHS reforms finalised their plans.

Central Manchester, Oldham, Salford and Stockport have been unveiled as the single service locations with other hospitals across the regions working alongside them.

Therefore Wigan, along with Bolton, will come under the umbrella of Salford.

Super-hospital sites will specialise in emergency medicine and general surgery with non-specialist sites designated as general hospitals.

As a result of the changes “patients will be seen more quickly by a senior doctor when they are seriously ill” HT experts have said.

The HT reforms are planned to improve standards of care across the region.

The decision to deny Wigan specialist status ignores the thousands of people in this borough who responded to the consultation

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy

Bosses at Wigan Infirmary have reassured residents that the borough’s A&E department is not under threat following the decision, which was made on Wednesday afternoon.

Although chief executive Andrew Foster has voiced concerns that missing out on specialist status may prove to be a threat to services in the future.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has been an outspoken critic of the way the reforms have been conducted.

She said: “The decision to deny Wigan specialist status ignores the thousands of people in this borough who responded to the consultation pointing out the flaws in Healthier Together’s initial proposals, especially around transport between hospitals for the families of patients, and expressing an overwhelming preference for five specialist sites.

“Despite this, the commitment that Christie at Wigan and Dr Naqvi’s cardiology department will be retained, along with a 24 hour A&E, is a significant victory brought about by patients, campaigners and one of the best performing hospital trusts in the country.

“After wasting several years and millions of pounds of public money on this shambolic process, I hope we can now get on with tackling the real challenges facing our health and social care system.”

Rob Forster, Acting Chief Executive at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We note and fully accept the decision taken today by the Committees in Common to name Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport as the fourth single service site and also welcome support from the Commissioners for the NW sector proposal.

“This means that a few of our very sickest patients who require specialist abdominal surgery each day will have their surgery carried out at Salford Royal.

“The majority of our patients will continue to receive their treatment in our existing hospitals. Patients will also benefit from an increase in the number of consultants and the hours they will be working in our Accident and Emergency Department. Our orthopaedic centre of excellence at Wrightington Hospital will continue to deliver the highest standards of orthopaedic care to all our patients.”