THOUSANDS of lives could be saved and improved each year by a reorganisation of the NHS, health bosses claim, following a meeting last week in Bolton.

Healthier Together — the organisation that is carrying out a review of healthcare in Greater Manchester — published its “visioning” document, outlining its plans, last Thursday.

It states that the current hospital system is “designed for the needs of the last century” and is “struggling to cope” with demands and needs to be changed.

It also says financial pressures and cuts in spending mean change is necessary in the health system.

Each year 550 lives could be saved in Greater Manchester by raising standards to meet the European average for cancer survival rates, the team behind Healthier Together claim.

The publication is calling for more “centres of excellence”, like the Christie Hospital in Manchester, to treat other health problems, such as strokes, heart disease and head injuries.

It states: “We know that where people truly believe that a facility is a centre of excellence as they do with the Christie Hospital, they are willing to travel longer distances to get what they perceive to be the best possible treatment.

“We believe this would work well for a number of serious conditions.”

The document states that no hospitals will be closing and said traditional working hours will need to change to deliver a “truly effective and joined-up healthcare system”.

The document makes it clear that public feedback is important and that the public will be fully consulted throughout the decision- making process.

There have been several public meetings across the region, including one in Bolton last Thursday. A second meeting is expected to take place in March.

The review is being carried out by a team at NHS Greater Manchester, with input from the region’s 12 clinical commissioning groups and local councils.

For more information about Healthier Together, visit healthiertogethergm. or call 0161 9209684.