COUNCIL leaders are rallying behind The Bolton News Best of Health for Bolton campaign.

Members of all parties have thrown their weight behind our appeal to see the Royal Bolton Hospital chosen to become one of five “super hospitals” in Greater Manchester.

It is part of the Healthier Together proposals, which could be the biggest shake-up of NHS services across the region in decades.

Leaders from the Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and UKIP are encouraging people in Bolton to take part in the consultation, which is due to start this summer.

Under the bid, bosses at the Royal Bolton say they will invest in the accident and emergency department, as well as maternity, children and obstetrics.

Cllr Linda Thomas, deputy leader of Bolton Council, said: “It took us many years to get to the stage we are at now with our excellent services for women and children in Bolton. It is seems logical to become a specialist centre.

“The fact that we have the second busiest A&E department in the region proves that we are in an excellent location for patients with strong transport links.”

Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of the Conservatives in Bolton, said: “I urge as many people as possible in Bolton to take part in this consultation — and not just current patients at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

“All residents need to have a say in the future of our health services. You never know when you might need to rely on these hospitals.

“It’s also important for people realise the importance of specialist centres across Greater Manchester.

“I’ve had a lot of experience with this myself as kidney patient and have benefited from other centres of excellence in Salford and Manchester. If Bolton could have its own specialism, I think it would be fantastic for the borough.”

Cllr Roger Hayes, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Bolton, said: “I have been a patient at the Royal Bolton myself and I fully support their bid.

“I have seen how busy the A&E department is — as is the maternity unit. I think this demonstrates how many people want to come to the Royal Bolton and that the hospital is already in a good position for Healthier Together.”

Joanne Johnson, chairman of the UKIP Group in Bolton, said: “The Royal Bolton really has come a long way in the past couple of years and UKIP fully support the hospital’s aim to become a specialist centre.”