Trafford General shake up approved - but Save Trafford General group says the fight goes on (From Messenger Newspapers)
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Trafford General Hospital shake up approved - but campaigners say the fight goes on
1:19pm Friday 25th January 2013 in News
REGIONAL health bosses have given the green light to controversial plans to reorganise services at Trafford General - but campaigners insist the fight goes on.
NHS Greater Manchester has given its approval to the service shake-up - called 'a new health deal for Trafford'.
They have given their seal of approval to proposals that include turning the A & E department into an urgent care centre which will only open between 8am and midnight.
But the Save Trafford General group vowed 'the war has hardly yet begun' - as the issue is now set to be referred to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.
Under the new health deal for Trafford, intensive care and the paediatric observation and assessment unit would also be closed, and emergency surgery would no longer be carried out at the hospital.
Health bosses claim the revamp at Trafford General - the birthplace of the NHS - is vital to address 'pressing clinical and financial issues'.
They say there are low patient numbers and fears over clinical safety.
The hospital also costs £19m more than the funding available.
Bosses have promised to improve transport links – and subsidise a ‘dial and ride’ travel scheme – as well as ensuring patients’ appointments are scheduled around public transport services.
Dr Nigel Guest, chief clinical officer of Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This agreement on the changes by NHS Greater Manchester is a key stage in what has been a long but inclusive journey to secure the future, not only of Trafford General Hospital, but of high quality local health services for the people of Trafford.”
But more than 12,500 people signed a petition that was delivered to Downing Street by the Save Trafford General group in October protesting at the proposals.
They are backed by a powerful town hall scrutiny committee, made up of councillors from both Trafford and Manchester - which is set to refer the 'new health deal' for Trafford programme to Mr Hunt.
The Save Trafford General campaign chairman, Matthew Finnegan, said NHS Greater Manchester's decision was 'entirely predictable'.
He added: "This was based on the convenience of clinicians who would rather stay in their ivory towers in Central Manchester than improve local services, and the cost cutting accountants who put pounds before patients.
"Thankfully, the decision is now out of their hands. It rests with the secretary of state who will feel the full force of local opinion in the coming months.
"The battle is not over. We are now entering a new phase of the campaign. We will be making the case for local services to remain at the birthplace of the NHS, because that is what local people want.
"We will also be insisting that local politicians make their views known to Mr Hunt.
"We have won the argument about the future of Trafford General, and lost this battle with the health professionals. But the war has hardly yet begun."
The decision by NHS Greater Manchester on January 24 came a week after Trafford Strategic Programme Board - the board that oversees the new health deal - rejected the objections of the joint Manchester and Trafford scrutiny committee and approved the plan.