Shake-up to take health service into 21st century

THE health service in Greater Manchester could face a major shakeup as part of a review to restructure the way care is provided.

NHS Greater Manchester is leading the Healthier Together review, which aims to improve healthcare from the current system, which it says is “not fit for purpose” and was “designed to meet the needs of the last century”.

The review follows a document called A Case for Change, which said the way services are currently organised is not affordable in the future.

It stated the NHS spends £122 million on A&E care in the region every year, and 40 per cent of the attendances in casualty could be dealt with by a GP or pharmacist.

Areas under scrutiny include urgent and emergency care, acute and emergency surgery, acute medicine, cardiovascular treatment, cancer treatment, long-term conditions, women and children, and primary care from GPs.

Health chiefs want to create a system that will provide the best specialist care to everyone, which in some cases could mean at home or in the community and not in hospital.

The shake-up is thought to be similar to the Making it Better consultation in 2007, which created maternity “supercentres”, including Bolton, and led to the closure of others, including Fairfield General Hospital maternity unit in Bury.

A consultation is not expected to start until the spring.

But the review has been controversial with health unions and staff, who are afraid it will lead to the creation of some health supercentres and the break-down of some hospitals — including Bolton.

A campaign was launched after the unions became concerned the review would lead to the closure or downgrading of the A&E department at the Royal Bolton Hospital and at other hospitals across the region.

Hundreds of people attended a protest in Bolton town centre and 2,793 have signed an e-petition against the closure of Bolton’s A&E department.

Health chiefs, including Dr Raj Patel, medical director of NHS Greater Manchester, Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chairman of Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group and David Wakefield, chairman of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, have said that there are no plans to close the Royal Bolton Hospital.

People will be able to learn more about the plans at a meeting, between 6pm and 8pm, on Thursday at the Albert Halls.

Dr Patel said Healthier Together was in its “earliest stages” and the event would give people an opportunity to hear about their “vision”.

To book a place at the public meeting, visit healthier togethergm.nhs.uk email healthiertogether@ manchester.nhs.uk or call 0161 920 9684.

■ GP Anne Talbot gives her views on Healthier Together in The Bolton News on Monday.

Comments (2)

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9:06am Sat 19 Jan 13

Hulton Park says...

Any article which includes the phrase "across Greater Manchester" - as this exact one did yesterday, before being for some reason re-drafted and comments removed - is bad news for Bolton, because it immediately makes us peripheral.

Our health planning needs to be seen in a whole-regional context - hospitals in Chorley, Blackburn or Preston are, for starters, nearer than places like Wythenshawe or Stockport, and fare more accessible from many areas of Bolton.

The reason for the re-emergence of NHS Greater Manchester (which was scrapped only a few years ago, as the 1974 county is not really a meaningful area in strategic planning terms) is to reflect the creation of the unelected Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which, in usual empire-building fashion, has proceeded to create a Health Commission (amongst several others): a jobs-for-the-boys talking shop for seconded local councillors with no powers of its own (yet!)
Any article which includes the phrase "across Greater Manchester" - as this exact one did yesterday, before being for some reason re-drafted and comments removed - is bad news for Bolton, because it immediately makes us peripheral. Our health planning needs to be seen in a whole-regional context - hospitals in Chorley, Blackburn or Preston are, for starters, nearer than places like Wythenshawe or Stockport, and fare more accessible from many areas of Bolton. The reason for the re-emergence of NHS Greater Manchester (which was scrapped only a few years ago, as the 1974 county is not really a meaningful area in strategic planning terms) is to reflect the creation of the unelected Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which, in usual empire-building fashion, has proceeded to create a Health Commission (amongst several others): a jobs-for-the-boys talking shop for seconded local councillors with no powers of its own (yet!) Hulton Park
  • Score: 0

8:03pm Sat 19 Jan 13

Puffin-Billy says...

You will, I repeat will, lose the NHS if you do not act NOW and defend it through industrial action, direct protest, civil disobedience, call it what you will.

The vested interests listed below will ensure that our poiticians do the bidding of private health companies, private insurance companies, and of course the pharmaceutical industry.

It is the job of the Nuffield Trust, Monitor, and propaganda machines such as 'Healthier Together' to push through these so-called reforms.

Wait five years and I will be proved right; and here's why.

As of May 2012 over 200 parliamentarians had financial interests in companies involved in private healthcare at the time of the Health and Social Care bill being debated and voted on in both houses.

1 in 6 Labour Peers and 1 in 6 Crossbench Peers have financial interests in companies involved in private healthcare.

79% of MPs who have links to companies involved in private healthcare are Conservative.

333 donations from private healthcare sources totalling £8.3 million have been gifted to the Conservative Party.

Two companies, part of a venture capital group in the private health sector, have donated a total of £970,000 to the Liberal Democrats since 2004.

Last but not least are the 23 organisations which make up the NHS Partners Network, which was formed in 2005, to provide a voice for private health companies, seven of which have financial connections to MPs, Lords or former MPs.

Monitor, who appointed David Wakefield as NHS Trust chairman at Bolton, claim that their role is ‘...the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts.’ I would argue that Monitor is far from being independent.

An internal memo written by NHS Partnership Network director, David Worskett reveals that both he and Monitor chief, David Bennett met during the Health bill 'pause' under the auspices of the free market think tank, Reform.

I think it is more than a coincidence that David Bennett was a former senior partner at a company who were the architects of the £20bn so-called ‘savings’ that are now decimating our NHS.

I believe that our NHS defines and marks Britain out as a caring and civilized nation.

I also believe that nothing less than a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience is now capable of saving our NHS from the vested interests of a morally bankrupt political elite.
You will, I repeat will, lose the NHS if you do not act NOW and defend it through industrial action, direct protest, civil disobedience, call it what you will. The vested interests listed below will ensure that our poiticians do the bidding of private health companies, private insurance companies, and of course the pharmaceutical industry. It is the job of the Nuffield Trust, Monitor, and propaganda machines such as 'Healthier Together' to push through these so-called reforms. Wait five years and I will be proved right; and here's why. As of May 2012 over 200 parliamentarians had financial interests in companies involved in private healthcare at the time of the Health and Social Care bill being debated and voted on in both houses. 1 in 6 Labour Peers and 1 in 6 Crossbench Peers have financial interests in companies involved in private healthcare. 79% of MPs who have links to companies involved in private healthcare are Conservative. 333 donations from private healthcare sources totalling £8.3 million have been gifted to the Conservative Party. Two companies, part of a venture capital group in the private health sector, have donated a total of £970,000 to the Liberal Democrats since 2004. Last but not least are the 23 organisations which make up the NHS Partners Network, which was formed in 2005, to provide a voice for private health companies, seven of which have financial connections to MPs, Lords or former MPs. Monitor, who appointed David Wakefield as NHS Trust chairman at Bolton, claim that their role is ‘...the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts.’ I would argue that Monitor is far from being independent. An internal memo written by NHS Partnership Network director, David Worskett reveals that both he and Monitor chief, David Bennett met during the Health bill 'pause' under the auspices of the free market think tank, Reform. I think it is more than a coincidence that David Bennett was a former senior partner at a company who were the architects of the £20bn so-called ‘savings’ that are now decimating our NHS. I believe that our NHS defines and marks Britain out as a caring and civilized nation. I also believe that nothing less than a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience is now capable of saving our NHS from the vested interests of a morally bankrupt political elite. Puffin-Billy
  • Score: 0

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