THE Royal Bolton’s boss says the hospital will become “bigger and better”

— provided residents back their borough in the Healthier Together review.

Dr Jackie Bene, chief executive of the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, is urging people to support the Royal Bolton to become one of five specialist centres across Greater Manchester.

Dr Bene — who still carries out ward rounds every week — says the hospital is the best option as a specialist centre for people in Bolton, Bury and Wigan.

She added: “Our A&E department is already one of the busiest in the region.

If we became a specialist centre we would take in a lot more patients, but we believe we can do it.

“It will require more space in terms of our estate and we have big plans to the improve the size of it.

“Also, as one of the busiest A&E departments, the requirement for surgery assessment is greater than others.

“We are already a specialist centre for women and children's services.

“These are not being looked at in the scope of this consultation, but we have still got to consider that we treat lots of children and women in obstetrics who might require surgical intervention.

“We feel we need these emergency facilities on site.

“If we do not get that status, some people will be assessed here and then transferred to the nearest specialist centre.”

Health chiefs across Greater Manchester say resources are not currently being spent wisely.

The proposed changes, which will see either four or five “super hospitals”

created, could save up to 1,500 lives across Greater Manchester a year, according to health bosses.

Healthier Together plans to combine medical teams at all of Greater Manchester’s hospitals.

Currently people are more likely to die in the evenings and at weekends because hospitals do not have enough staff.

Healthier Together will mean hospitals share a larger pool of staff and patients are moved between specialist and general hospitals quickly.

Even if the Royal Bolton does not become a specialist centre, it will still have an A&E department, planned surgery and full acute medical care.

But if it gains the specialist status, it will carry out more general surgery — which means abdominal surgery.

As a specialist centre, there would always be a consultant on shift duty ready to assess patients with abdominal pain.

People have until September 30 to read the consultation document and fill out the forms either online or on paper.

To complete the consultation questionnaire, visit healthier or call 0800 8886789.