Health chiefs back big hospital shake-up

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary
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A GROUP of health organisations - including a Wigan authority - has spoken out in support of a major NHS shake-up ahead of a legal challenge.

The decision not to hand Wythenshawe Hospital’s emergency abdominal surgery provision specialist status will be taken to judicial review this week.

Wigan’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) is part of the claim because it, along with 11 fellow organisations across the region, contributed to the decision as part of the Healthier Together (HT) reforms.

The shake-up, dubbed the biggest change in the region’s health service in decades, also saw Wigan Infirmary.

Ahead of the legal claim, regional health bosses have spoken out in favour of the controversial reforms.

Chief Executive of North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Bob Williams, said: “As with the other stakeholders in the Greater Manchester health service, NWAS has been well aware of, consulted on and had input into HT process.

“The Trust supports HT as we are acutely aware that routinely taking all patients to any accident and emergency department is not always in the patient’s best interest and have always said we will work with whatever outcome the Healthier Together process decides.

“I understand that the HT committee, when making their final decision, did so in part based on an understanding that not all patients would necessarily travel to their nearest geographical hospital, as this may not be the most clinically appropriate, quickest or easiest for them to reach.”

A group of senior doctors from Wythenshawe (called Keep Wythenshawe Special) has challenged the HT decision to hand their site general status, they say the “catastrophic” move could be “unlawful”.

Dr Chris Brookes, who represents the region’s 12 CCG groups, including Wigan, said: “The present system is not always providing the best care for our patients and this cannot continue.

“There are intolerable differences in quality that exist day-to-day.

“We must remove these variances and deliver reliable care consequently improving quality and outcomes for all of our patients.

The judicial review into the decision was taking place this week.

If the judge decides in favour of KWS, the specialist site decision will be revisited by the CCG’s committee.