BOLTON’S three MPs have met with hospital chiefs to discuss the Royal Bolton’s bid to become a specialist centre.

The hospital has joined the race to become one of five “super hospitals” in Greater Manchester.

The town’s three MPs David Crausby, Julie Hilling and Yasmin Qureshi were invited to the trust and met chief executive Jackie Bene and chairman David Wakefield to discuss the bid as part of a Healthier Together proposals.

The Bolton News has backed the hospital’s bid by launching the ‘Best of Health for Bolton’ campaign, which all of the MPs have signed up to.

Mr Crausby, who represents Bolton north east in Parliament, said people in the furthest ends of his constituency already have to travel a “significant distance” to access services at Royal Bolton.

He added: “It’s absolutely vital that we hang on, and the contest is clearly between us and Wigan.

“At my end of town people already say the hospital isn’t in Bolton, it’s in Farnworth, and it’s a long enough journey when you’re battling through traffic.

“To make it worse by threatening any services at the Royal Bolton is unacceptable for Bolton.”

MP for Bolton West Julie Hilling said it was vital Royal Bolton retain the emergency and high risk surgery so that patients can access top quality care where they live, day or night.

She added: “We’ve got the second biggest ambulance arrivals in Greater Manchester, and I understand it’s the second biggest A&E attendances.

“With that, clearly we’re a big centre for people attending for emergency care, and therefore it doesn’t make any sense to the people who want to attend Bolton to have to go somewhere else.

“It would appear that Salford remains a specialist in everything, but Salford Royal is really close to the other Manchester hospitals, so I am concerned about more services being in the centre and us losing vital services from us should we be named a local hospital.”

Bolton south east MP Yasmin Qureshi added: “It was great to meet with Jackie and the other Bolton MPs to get an update into how our hospital is doing and the exciting plans it has to try to achieve the status of a specialist centre under the Healthier Together proposals.”

“I will work with the trust and all other partners to campaign that our hospital claims this ‘super status’ so that everyone in Bolton can benefit from it being a specialist centre and I hope everyone in Bolton can get behind the campaign too.”

Salford, Oldham and Central Manchester hospitals have already been earmarked as specialist centres, while Royal Bolton faces competition from Wigan, Stockport and Wythenshawe to become one of two more.

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.