Healthier Together hospital plans take shape

10th July 2015

Under the Healthier Together hospital plans to improve quality and safety in Greater Manchester, “single services” are to be formed.

These are networks of linked hospitals working in partnership. This means care will be provided by a team of medical staff working together across a number of hospital sites within a single service.

All hospitals specialise in providing certain types of care. For example, some hospitals specialise in stroke care, others in cancer care. Similarly, one of the hospitals in each of the single services will specialise in general (abdominal) surgery and emergency medicine for patients with life-threatening conditions.

All hospitals will improve to ensure they meet the quality and safety standards. All hospitals will keep their existing specialisms and will continue to provide care to their local population as they do now.

Commissioners had already confirmed that there would be at least three single services. Salford Royal, Central Manchester Hospitals and the Royal Oldham will each specialise in providing general surgery and emergency medicine within a single service.

Healthier Together

And at meeting of the Committees in Common of the Healthier Together programme on Wednesday 17 June, commissioners decided there would be one additional single service.

The Committees in Common will meet again on Wednesday 15 July to decide which hospital should be the fourth specialist general surgery site.

It will be either Wigan; Bolton; Stepping Hill, Stockport; or University Hospital South Manchester, Wythenshawe.

The new arrangements are relevant to Eastern Cheshire as residents are sometimes referred to the Stockport and Wythenshawe hospitals for general surgery and other care.

Therefore, travelling distances for patients and relatives could either increase or decrease depending on where they live and on the location of the fourth specialist general surgery site. Safe travelling distances will be among factors taken into account when the decision is made.

The Committees in Common faced a choice between creating four or five single services but opted for the former which they considered the better arrangement for improving care standards and saving lives.

Dr Ranjit Gill, chief clinical officer of NHS Stockport CCG and a member of the Committees in Common, said:

“Improvements to primary care and integrated care combined with hospitals working in partnership, sharing services, will enable us to provide patients with the high quality care they deserve every time. I am confident we have selected the best option that will help us to save the most lives in the fastest way.”

Healthier Together believes the changes will result in around 300 fewer deaths each year after general surgery.

Caring Together advised Healthier Together on developing the quality standards it will use to hold care providers to account.

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