Concerns about the facilities being used to replace a borough neurological rehab service have been raised by a whistleblower.
The source travelled to the unit where patients will go to recover from serious brain injuries instead of the Taylor Unit in the borough and gave an unimpressed verdict.
The site at Trafford Hospital was described as old and lacking the sort of facilities and activities which patients in Leigh have access to during their rehabilitation.
However, Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has both disputed much of this and defended the Trafford move, saying the Taylor Unit was no longer fit for purpose and stressing patient welfare was the organisation’s primary concern.
The whistleblower said: “There’s nothing modern about the ward in Trafford. The garden was the same size as the one in Leigh and looked like a smoking area.
“The day room is tiny and patients were in bed in hospital pyjamas, whereas the Taylor Unit has them up, dressed, showered and doing activities.
“It’s not a rehab unit, it’s basically an old acute ward.”
However, CCG chair Dr Tim Dalton hit back, saying: “The wards at Trafford have been refitted and updated to ensure they meet the modern standards of care. They are in a considerably better condition than the current Taylor Unit.
“The ward at Trafford General has dedicated gym facilities, kitchen and dining areas and relaxation areas. The garden is large for a hospital garden and is solely for the use of the neuro-rehabilitation patients and their families.
“The patients grow plants there, decorate it with items made by them, such as wind chimes, and go out and sit on the benches when the weather is warm enough.
“On their visits to the ward my staff at the CCG, who have visited a number of neuro-rehabilitation units, were impressed with the facilities, the condition of the ward and the atmosphere. The patients they saw appeared to be relaxed and happy on the unit and were fully dressed and engaged in activities.
“I understand that this proposed move is difficult but we would not be considering Trafford General if we weren’t assured that they had the right facilities.”
Before closing the unit, health bosses sought extra expert advice after receiving bids to run the service.
The unit is moved because its current first-floor location is unsuitable, health chiefs said at the time.