Local protests fail to stop Accident and Emergency re-think

Ambulances outside Wigan Infirmary
Ambulances outside Wigan Infirmary
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PROTESTS held in Wigan over changes to Accident and Emergency departments in Greater Manchester may have fallen on deaf ears after it was announced plans will go ahead.

Two rallies were held in Wigan town centre in November by trade unionists and members of the Save the NHS campaign, over plans to downgrade A&E services across the region.

Protestors fear that as a consequence of the on-going review - The Case For Change - hospitals in Wigan as well as Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, North Manchester and Trafford could lose their A&E services which would then be replaced with five super-centres.

Speakers at the meeting at Wigan Town Hall included Consultant Cardiologist at Wigan infirmary Dr Nayyar Naqvi, Nurse and Unison NEC member Karen Riesmann, Unite Regional Officer and Branch Secretary of Wigan’s Trades Council Terry Abbott plus Joe Harding, Mat Finnegan and George Devlin from the Save Trafford A and E Campaign

The CEO of the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust Andrew Foster also attended and attempted to reassure the meeting that there were “no plans” to close Wigan casualty and said that flyers advertising the meeting were upsetting the hospital staff unnecessarily.

Although Wigan Infirmary remains safe for now, protestors were concerned about changes at Trafford General Hospital, which have now been given the go ahead by health chiefs.

The Trafford Strategic Programme Board, which includes clinicians, patients and local council officials, has accepted the redesign of services at Trafford General.

Under proposals, A&E will be downgraded to an urgent care service and will open between 8am and midnight. It is estimated that around 75 per cent of patients who currently use the service would continue to do and night patients would instead go to Salford Royal, Wythenshawe or Manchester Royal Infirmary. Emergency surgery would be axed and the intensive care and the paediatric observation and assessment unit would also close.

Final proposals will be announced for a formal round of official consultation in the spring.