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National Clinical Advisory Team assesses Trafford's New Health Deal
9:30am Thursday 16th August 2012 in News
HEALTH chiefs in the borough say their controversial plans for Trafford General have been endorsed by national clinicians.
The National Clinical Advisory Team (NCAT) - clinicians who work independently from the Department of Health - has supported proposals which include downgrading services at the hospital.
But ‘Save Trafford General’ campaigners have slammed NCAT as ‘faceless, unaccountable clinicians playing God with local people's lives and cutting the services which we depend upon."
NCAT was reviewing the ‘new health deal’ proposals for Trafford - currently being consulted on - which include turning Trafford General’s A & E department into an urgent care centre, open from 8am to midnight.
This would then be downgraded to a nurse-led unit for minor illnesses and injuries within three years.
Intensive care and the paediatric observation and assessment unit would be closed and acute surgery would no longer be carried out at the hospital.
NHS Trafford insists this will free up cash to invest in community services and provide integrated care.
Services at Trafford General cost around £19m more than the income generated. A report by NCAT, following a visit to Trafford General - the birthplace of the NHS - backed the proposals.
It said: “We support the clinical case for change made here. We think the project team is correct to identify that there are clinical, sustainability and future safety problems at Trafford General Hospital if it goes on practising the way it does.”
Dr George Kissen, medical director at NHS Trafford, welcomed the report and said: “It is really positive that the national clinical experts recognised the problems we are facing here in Trafford.
“Historically there has been an inappropriate, disproportionate level of investment in hospital facilities, to the disadvantage of community and primary care services.”
NCAT recommended that the proposal to consult the public be strongly supported.
But Matthew Finnegan, the chairman of the Save Trafford General community group, hit back: "We are heartily sick of faceless, unaccountable clinicians playing God with local people's lives and cutting the services which we depend upon.
"The NHS should be about putting patients at the centre of the service - not the self-interest of clinicians and the accountants.
"Their plans are dangerous and driven by a short-term plan to save money and cut costs - closing A&E at Trafford will put patients’ lives at risk.
* Visit healthdeal.trafford.nhs.uk or call 0161 873 6008 to find out how to book onto a public meeting, or to respond to the consultation.