Question Time-style debate about massive healthcare changes on Tuesday

The Royal Bolton Hospital

The Royal Bolton Hospital

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , health reporter

THE Bolton News will chair a Question Time-style debate on radical proposals to shake up hospital care.

Lynn Ashwell, deputy editor of the Bolton News, will lead a question and answer session on the Healthier Together proposals on Tuesday at the University of Bolton.

Healthier Together’s plans could see the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust become one of five specialist centres in Greater Manchester.

Doctors and council chiefs are rallying together in a final push of the consultation, which closes on September 30.

The proposals, which will see either four or five super hospitals created, could save up to 1,500 lives across Greater Manchester a year, according to health bosses.

The public will get the chance to have their say and quiz a panel of experts, including doctors, health bosses and politicians.

Su Long, chief officer at Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said it is ‘vital’ people attended the meeting.

She added: “The Healthier Together ‘question time’ events are an opportunity for people to take part in a lively and open discussion about proposals to change health services in Greater Manchester.

“It is important that people have their say now about how they want hospital, GP, and community services to be provided in the future.

“I would encourage Bolton people to come and find out more about the planned changes.”

Ms Long will be joined on the panel by Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chairman of Bolton CCG, Jackie Bene, chief executive of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Cllr Linda Thomas, deputy leader of Bolton Council, and Jack Firth, chairman of Healthwatch Bolton.

Cllr Thomas said: “The NHS is the jewel the crown and any lasting changes deserve proper consideration from all angles.

"The outcome must be a health service in which we can all continue to be proud, that is safe and provides quality services to all our communities.”

Oldham, Salford or Manchester Royal Infirmary have already been earmarked to be ‘super hospitals’.

Bolton, Wythenshawe, the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan and Stepping Hill in Stockport are all vying for ‘super’ status.

The debate will be held from 6.30pm to 8pm in the main lecture theatre at the University of Bolton, in Deane Road.

To complete the consultation questionnaire regarding the proposals, visit healthiertogethergm.nhs.uk or telephone 0800 8886789.

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