Review into health services delayed
8:56am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
A CONSULTATION about a controversial shake-up of health services in Greater Manchester will not begin until late summer.
Healthier Together is a review of healthcare, led by NHS Greater Manchester and clinical commissioners across the region, which some fear could result in accident and emergency departments being closed.
The consultation had been planned to start in the spring, but organisers said it has been pushed back and now may not take place until late August or September.
Organisers are believed to have put the start of the consultation back to give the public more time to become involved in the process.
They have planned a second meeting with the public in Bolton, on April 9.
Organisers say the review is needed because the current district general hospitals system is outdated and health chiefs are working with the region’s 12 clinical commissioning groups to create a new model.
They want a system that focuses on specialist units and has a greater emphasis on community care.
Healthier Together has been compared to Making it Better, a review of maternity care in the region, which led to the closure of some maternity departments including the one at Fairfield Hospital in Bury, and the creation of “supercentres”, including Bolton’s £20 million flagship centre.
It has caused controversy in Bolton amid concerns that current services could be downgraded or closed down, but health chiefs have denied that any services will be closed.
Medical director Dr Raj Patel, from NHS Greater Manchester, which is leading the programme, said they were committed to working alongside local people and staff.
A Healthier Together spokesman said: “The consultation has been pushed back from April to late August or September.
“This is to allow more public involvement and because there are more things that need to be done and things that need to be finalised.”
People will be able to learn more about the plans at a meeting between 6pm and 8pm at the Albert Halls on April 9.
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