THE Royal Bolton Hospital can no longer treat people with life-threat- ening injuries after health experts raised “significant concerns” in a damning report.

Since last month anyone suffering from a serious head injury, severe burns, a gunshot or stab wound, spinal injuries or multiple serious life-changing injuries will not be taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital for assessment before they are sent to a hospital with specialist facilities for treatment.

These “major trauma” patients will instead have to go to one of six accredit- ed hospitals outside Bolton before they are seen by a doctor. The changes will be phased in between now and October.

The nearest to Bolton are Wigan and Salford Royal.

Health chiefs visited the Royal Bolton to review its facilities after hospital bosses applied to become an accredited trauma unit.

The panel of experts from NHS Manchester said the hospital had failed to pro- vide enough evidence to demonstrate that it had: ● Appropriate staff on- hand when a major trauma patient arrived.

● Paediatric teams available in the case of a major trauma, particularly for two-year-olds.

● A CT radiographer available 24 hours a day.

And in a report, the NHS representatives said when they visited the hospital to review its facilities, no one from the Royal Bolton responded to say what was being done about their concerns.

he report said: “In addition to the insufficient assurance provid- ed by the visit itself, the panel con- firmed it could not recommend Royal Bolton’s accreditation.”

Hospital bosses claim not all their evidence was considered.

Head of communications Heather Edwards said: “We were disappointed at not being made a major trauma unit at this stage as we feel the panel wasn’t able to consider all the evidence it required and that we had provid- ed.

“However, the new arrange- ments are to be reviewed in 12 months.”

Su Long, interim accountable officer at Bolton Clinical Commis- sioning Group, added: “While we are disappointed Bolton was not included, people in Bolton will still be able to attend their local A&E department for the vast majority of cases.”

Under the changes, the majority of the 120,000 patients treated annually in Royal Bolton’s exist- ing A&E department will still be seen there.

Ms Edwards said: “Serious head injuries are currently assessed here and, if appropriate, go to Sal- ford.

“In future they would go straight to Salford, which is right for these more complex cases.”

About 80 patients suffer major trauma in Bolton each year, and there are about 450 cases across Greater Manchester.

A spokesman for the Greater Manchester Major Trauma Net- work said: “The types of evidence the panel looked for were that pro- cedures and staff are readily in place, or could be put in place, in time to be utilised within the major trauma network.”

Hospital bosses claim the shake- up will save time because, under the current system, it takes longer to transport a patent to the spe- BLOW The Royal Bolton Hospital failed to be accepted as an NHS accredited trauma unit following “significant concerns”

cialised centre. Ambulance crews have been given extra training to help them decide where to take patients.

Paramedics will have to make a judgement call about whether to take the injured person to accident and emergency at Bolton or to one of the major trauma units.

A North West Ambulance Ser- vice spokesman said: “Senior clini- cians will also be available in the emergency control centre to sup- port ambulance crews throughout the implementation phase.”

Dr Raj Patel, medical director of NHS Greater Manchester, said the changes were designed to make sure people got the best specialised treatment as quickly as possible.

He added: “Major trauma servic- es are required for a relatively small number of unfortunate indi- viduals who have suffered com- plex, multiple life-threatening injuries.”

The three hospitals successful in bidding to become major trauma centres are Salford Royal, Man- chester Central and Manchester South Foundation Trusts, while the major trauma units will be at the Royal Oldham Hospital, Stock- port Foundation Trust, and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust.

Along with Bolton, Tameside Foundation Trust and North Man- chester General Hospital failed to become major trauma units.