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  1. ITV Report

Lives put 'at risk' under health service shake-up

Hospital workers on the ward at the Royal Albert and Edward Infirmary Photo: ITV Granada Reports

Doctors and nurses working at hospitals in Greater Manchester, where services are under threat, claim a huge health service shake-up will put lives at risk.

"Healthier Together," is a series of changes that will affect the whole of Greater Manchester's health and social care.

The plans will create a number 'super hospitals' at the expense of others, but some health professionals say rather than making things better, patients' lives will be put in danger.

Around 250 patients pass through the doors of The Royal Albert and Edward Infirmary in Wigan every day. That is roughly 90,000 patients a year.

But under Healthier Together, the A&E department could be downgraded, meaning more serious cases would have to travel to Bolton, Salford, even Wythenshawe, instead.

Jeanette Cornish is a Sister on the Accident and Emergency ward. She says it is essential services stay local to the people using them.

Jeanette Cornish, Sister on the Accident and Emergency ward. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

She said: "You want to be at your nearest hospital which is easiest for you. It takes a lot of stress out of situations that are very emotional."So I think it's more beneficial for the patients and their relatives - because that's who we care about - the patients and the relatives - to have the treatment as close to home as they can."

You want to be at your nearest hospital which is easiest for you.

– Jeanette Cornish, Sister on the Accident and Emergency ward.

Dr Nick Flatt is a consultant who works for the Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust. He has surveyed all 10 Trusts within the Greater Manchester region.

532 people replied; most of them were also consultants.

He told ITV News: "They certainly weren't very happy out it.Only a quarter of respondents thought that Healthier Together would save lives or money or improve the heath care of Greater Manchester."

Health professionals in Manchester claim health service shake-up could put lives at risk. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Joanne Newton, chief financial office for Central Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“The Financial Case for Change identified that the Greater Manchester health economy is financially unsustainable in the long term. Across both health and social care, the financial gap was estimated to be £1.1 billion. Addressing this will inevitably require upfront investment.

"The money required to finance the Healthier Together programme has been jointly funded by the 12 Greater Manchester CCGs from the budget that they are required to spend on service improvement and no money has been redirected from the direct delivery of patient care by doctors and nurses. "The budget for the Healthier Together programme for 2014/15 is £4.6m, representing approx. 0.1% of the 2014 commissioning budget of £3.5bn.”

The Greater Manchester health economy is financially unsustainable in the long term.

– Healthier Together spokesperson