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Healthier Together Consultation – WWL Statement

Newsdate: 30 June 2014

There is complete confidence within Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) that Wigan Infirmary should be identified as a specialist hospital in the upcoming Healthier Together consultation.

The Healthier Together programme is part of the Greater Manchester Programme for Health and Social Care Reform, aiming to provide the best health and care for everyone in Greater Manchester. The programme proposes improvements in access to services in primary care, better joined up care in the community and changes to hospital services.

The essence of the consultation on hospital services is that it proposes two types of hospital – specialist and local hospitals. A specialist hospital will be one that carries out emergency surgery and the proposal from Healthier Together is to have only four or five of these in Greater Manchester. A local hospital will not be able to provide emergency surgery on their site but will transfer patients to a specialist hospital. Management and clinicians at WWL are united in their view that Wigan Infirmary should be a specialist hospital.

Andrew Foster, Chief Executive commented, “I believe that all hospitals in Greater Manchester should be super hospitals that deliver the highest standards of care for all their patients. If there are to be specialist hospitals then I would say that Wigan Infirmary should be one of them.

“WWL is a top performing Trust and we have achieved major improvements in the quality of care we deliver to our patients over recent years. We consistently deliver on quality, safety and performance targets and push ourselves to be in the top 10 per cent for everything we do. We firmly believe there is a strong case for Wigan Infirmary to be identified as a specialist hospital based on a number of key criteria including - quality and care; high standards and performance; financial stability; investment in our services and sites; the geography of Wigan and Leigh; patient feedback on our facilities; and the high feedback scores from patients in the national ‘Friends and Family’ test. We will expand on each of these criteria during the consultation period so everyone is aware of the strengths that we have and why Wigan Infirmary should be a specialist hospital.”

Mr Foster continued, “Our staffs’ commitment to quality and care ensures we deliver the best clinical outcomes for our patients. WWL is recognised regionally and nationally as a high performing Trust having won 10 awards in the last year. We operate a regional centre of excellence in orthopaedics and we were accredited as a Trauma Unit with a key justification being based on geography. I would hope this also holds true for the Healthier Together consultation. 

“We are also a financially stable organisation with money to invest. This is the profile of an organisation that should be one of the specialist hospitals in Greater Manchester. We feel that the public of Wigan and Leigh should benefit from having our main hospital site in Wigan with specialist status. We will ask the public for their support in responding to the Healthier Together consultation when it goes live in early July. ”