A rehabilitation unit helping people recover from serious brain injuries looks set to leave the borough after health bosses named their preferred new provider.
The Taylor Unit at Leigh Infirmary is likely to close next year with the service moving to Trafford General Hospital, Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has revealed.
The CCG has admitted it is unable to keep the neuro-rehabilitation facility in the borough after Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust gave notice it could no longer run it.
The CCG said it understood the news was a blow to patients, their families and employees but said it would work to find solutions.
Chief executive Trish Anderson said: “We have spent a lot of time working out how we can continue to deliver safe and sustainable neuro-rehabilitation services to residents across Wigan and Bolton and have reviewed all the options available to us.
“We are confident that Trafford General is best placed to deliver a high-quality service to our patients.
“I understand that this is a difficult time for patients and their families and carers and I would like to reassure them that they will continue to get access to the care they need throughout this process.
“Over the coming months we will be talking to patients, families and carers, staff and wider residents about what this means for them and how we can minimise the impact.”
The Trafford facility is expected to have the full 20-bed capacity and patients will be gradually transferred there before the Leigh Infirmary contract ends on March 31, 2018.
Health bosses say the borough location is no longer suitable as it is on the first floor of a building and has difficulties with round-the-clock medical cover, despite agreements on the high quality of care.
Employees have reacted with disappointment to the news of the preferred provider.
One staff member, who asked not to be named, said: “Although we are relieved we are not being closed altogether we feel sad and angry for the people of Wigan and Leigh having to travel to see loved ones. Some very experienced staff will be unable to make the move.”