A rehab unit which is threatened with closure will remain at Leigh Infirmary for up to 12 months while an alternative location is found.
Neurological centre the Taylor Unit has been given extra funding by Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust.
This gives us more time to find the right location for the serviceDr Tim Dalton
Health bosses say this will maintain staff jobs while a new home for the unit is found.
Residents worried about the impending closure, which is happening because the current first-floor location is not suitable, will get to express their views in a public consultation set to launch in March.
Dr Tim Dalton, local GP and CCG chairman, said: “We are pleased that the neuro-rehabilitation unit will remain on the Taylor Ward at Leigh Infirmary for longer thanks to the hospital agreeing to an extension. This gives us more time to find the right location for the service.
“When we know more about what the potential locations are, we will hold a public consultation to seek the views of patients, staff and residents. We expect this to be in early spring.
“Wherever the service moves to, we will fully support patients, families and staff through the transfer and make the process as clear, simple and undisruptive as possible.”
However, staff at the unit have hit out at health chiefs, saying senior nurses are holding consultations and suggesting they seek jobs elsewhere in the borough’s services.
One employee, who asked not to be named, said: “You can imagine the relief it has been extended for another 12 months but staff are still leaving because it’s all up in the air, we don’t know where we stand.
“They’ve started doing one-to-one consultations with all of us and we’re being asked for our preferences of other jobs they are offering. The girls feel they are under a lot of pressure to take these jobs in WWL.
“We just feel sorry for the people of Wigan and Leigh who might have to travel to the new location.”
However, WWL strongly denied the consultation was intended to force Taylor Unit employees into other roles and said speaking to the staff was the right thing to do.
A WWL spokesman said: “The trust is aware that discussions continue between Wigan Borough CCG and potential new providers of the service. We are still awaiting a confirmed decision.
“As we are still in a status of uncertainty, we feel it is still appropriate to continue to consult with the staff within the unit about the future options for the unit and their roles.
“The staff will be informed as soon as possible when the status of the service is confirmed.”