A LEADING Bolton GP is urging residents to have their say on a huge shake-up of hospital services.
Dr Wirin Bhatiani says the Healthier Together review will help “even out” variations in hospital care and improve chances of survival for patients.
The radical plans could see the Royal Bolton become one of five ‘super hospitals’ in Greater Manchester but health chiefs say the public must seize the opportunity to make their voices heard.
People have until September 30 to read the consultation document and fill out the forms either online or on paper.
Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chairman of NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There are currently significant variations in outcomes for patients across Greater Manchester and this must be addressed.
This is coupled with a limited workforce of senior medical staff spread thinly across Greater Manchester. NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group is supporting Healthier Together because our top priority is delivering safe, high quality health care for everyone in Bolton and also in Greater Manchester as a whole.
“Whatever the outcome of a consultation may be, we know that Bolton people will benefit from a higher standard of care and access to specialist treatment when they need it. Sometimes the best specialist care doesn’t have to be at our nearest hospital.
“We believe that the best way to achieve these improvements is for hospitals and CCGs to work together.”
The reason why all hospitals cannot be specialist centres is down to cash and workforce, according to NHS chiefs.
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust is vying to become a “super hospital” in one of the biggest shake-ups the NHS has seen.
Oldham, Salford or Manchester Royal Infirmary have already been earmarked to be specialist centres.
The consultation will decide whether one or two more “super hospitals” are created, and where they will be.
The options are Bolton, Wythenshawe, the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan and Stepping Hill in Stockport.
If four hospitals are chosen, less money will be spent up front and Bolton will be in a straight fight with its three rivals.
If the option of five specialist centres is pursued, Bolton will compete with Wigan for the status.
To complete the questionnaire, visit healthiertogethergm.nhs.
uk or call 0800 8886789.