Healthcare in Greater Manchester is changing.
Along with the other 11 CCGs in Greater Manchester, Wigan Borough CCG is leading the Healthier Together programme of health and social care reform.
Healthier Together is reviewing health and care in Greater Manchester to make sure that all the hospitals in Greater Manchester, including the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan, delivers the highest quality of care possible for you and your family and meets a set of quality and safety criteria. To do this, hospital services will need to change.
Healthier Together have a proposal for how they think hospitals services should change to improve standards. These proposals were formally consulted on last summer (8th July - 28th September) which was the public's opportunity to tell us what they thought about the proposals. The decisions were taken at public meetings in June and July 2015.
Why do hospitals need to change?
Greater Manchester has some of the best hospitals in country, but not all patients experience the best care all the time.
Evidence suggests that:
- For the sickest patients who need emergency surgery, the risk of dying might be twice as likely in some of our hospitals compared to others.
- There is a shortage of consultants (the most experienced doctors) in important services such as A&E and General Surgery.
- That patients are more likely to have medical problems/complications if they need help on evenings and weekends.
We want to make sure that very quickly, none of this is any longer true and that there is consistent delivery of the best possible care in all our hospitals across Greater Manchester.
What will change?
The Healthier Together proposals suggest that hospitals need to work more closely together and share medical expertise and staff on emergency surgery.
The new model creates four single services covering all the hospitals in Greater Manchester. In each single service, all the hospitals will work together as one single service to deliver emergency surgery. In our single service, the emergency service will take place at Salford Royal Hospital.
Under this model, all hospitals will:
- keep their A&E department
- continue to treat patients with a wide range of conditions who arrive in hospital and need immediate care (acute medicine)
- continue to do general surgery operations for adults
- continue to offer screening, diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments, and
- offer rapid-access clinics for urgent surgical assessment by a consultant
The hospital that delivers the emergency surgery will also:
- have more consultants/consultant time in A&E
- treat the small number of patients who are critically unwell, e.g. heart attack, stroke
- undertake all high risk and emergency surgery
What might it mean to me?
In an emergency, you won't need to think about where you are going. The ambulance paramedics or hospital staff will assess and treat you as necessary. If they think it is appropriate, they will transfer you to Salford Royal when it is safe to do so. Once the consultant deems it appropriate, you might be transferred back to your local hospital sent home. Your outpatient appointments should be local to you, although it is possible that if you need to see your consultant at a certain date/time in your treatment, you may have to go back to the Specialist Hospital to make sure you get the right level of expertise and care.
How can I find out more?
You can visit the Healthier Together website to find out more: http://www.healthiertogethergm.nhs.uk/.
What is next?
Now the decisions have been taken, it is time to plan how the new system will be implemented. The changes won't all happen at once, but will be phased in over 5 years to make sure the system is safe and that each hospital is ready for the change.