Number of super-hospitals to be revealed

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary

WIGAN Infirmary bosses will be watching on with fingers crossed tomorrow as a key Healthier Together (HT) decision is announced.

The reforms - dubbed the biggest shake-up of the NHS in a generation - will see a number of hospitals granted specialist status.

But Wigan is in competition with Bolton, Wythenshawe and Stepping Hill to be given this designation.

And fears have been raised that if the borough’s hospitals are handed general status, which is the alternative, it could pose a threat to future services.

As part of the reforms, Salford, Central Manchester and Oldham hospitals have been confirmed as being granted specialist, or “super-hospital” status.

HT bosses will announce tomorrow how many other hospitals will specialist, with only one or two more expected, potentially reducing Wigan’s chances.

Those behind the reforms have said the region has an opportunity to raise widespread standards of care.

But concerns have been voiced that the two-tier system could have a detrimental impact on those hospitals focusing on general care.

Tomorrow’s annoucement will follow a meeting of HT representatives from across the region at Manchester Town Hall.

Dr Ranjit Gill, a member of the joint panel making the decision, said: “We are on the brink of making key decisions which fits in perfectly with the Greater Manchester devolution programme.

A HT public consultation was conducted last year with Wiganers contributing around a quarter of the responses.

At a town hall question and answer session in September, audience members said they had concerns over whether their safety would be put at risk by having to travel to different hospitals to receive aspects of care.

Andrew Foster, chief executive of the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust, said: “I would prefer to be collaborating with our colleagues rather than competing with our neighbour hospitals.

“We’ve got one of the best A&E departments in the area.”