THE Royal Bolton Hospital will submit ambitious plans to become one of five specialist super-centres in the Healthier Together shake-up.

The public will be asked for their views on which hospitals they want to become specialist centres as part of the consultation, which is due to start this summer.

NHS England will have the final say.

Health chiefs — who say the restructure could save up to 1,000 lives every five years — have already earmarked Salford, Oldham and Central Manchester as specialist centres.

The Royal Bolton has been shortlisted alongside Wigan, Stockport and Wythenshawe to become one of up to two other specialist hospitals in the region.

Bosses at the Royal Bolton are proposing to invest heavily in maternity, children and obstetrics as well as the A&E department.

The Bolton NHS Foundation Trust says the hospitals “super-centre” status will attract the best clinicians from across the region.

The review will try to solve the shortage of consultants across Greater Manchester — there are currently 16 vacancies across all the A&E departments.

David Wakefield, chairman of the Royal Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “If we don’t go for super-centre status, we will miss an opportunity to attract the best clinicians in the NHS.”

If the hospital loses out to Wigan, Stockport or Wythenshawe, it will be classed as a “local hospital” alongside North Manchester, Fairfield in Bury and Tameside.

All hospitals across Greater Manchester will operate as part of a “single service” model where two local hospitals will share services with a specialist hospital.

Mr Wakefield added: “If we become a “local” hospital, in many ways we will remain as we are.

The current standards and performance will be upheld.”

The trust estimates it will need an investment of at least £40 million if it is to become a super-centre.

Healthier Together says the Royal Bolton’s A&E department and maternity services are not under threat.

Access to GP practices and local authority services will also need to improve to provide more care in the community and in people’s homes.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Bolton Council are already in the process of integrating healthcare services.

Health commissioners — including the Bolton CCG — voted unanimously to accept the proposals, which will be reviewed by NHS England in July before they go before the public.

Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chairman of Bolton CCG, added: “The next step in this process will be to share further information with the public as part of a consultation.

“The timing and content of this consultation will be decided at a further meeting of all Greater Manchester CCGs, to be held in public on June 18. Whatever the outcome of the consultation, the majority of services people receive at the Royal Bolton Hospital will remain and our A&E will not close.”