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The Best Care: 'Healthier Together' Fights Back

Leila Williams responds to Graham Stringer's criticism

Published on August 4th 2014.

The Best Care: 'Healthier Together' Fights Back

Last week Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton, criticised the Healthier Together initiative as a waste of money - click here. This week Healthier Together responds.

HEALTHIER Together has one aim – to provide the best care for everyone in Greater Manchester.

Currently, there are too many variations in the quality of care, whether it is getting to see a GP when you need to, or specialist emergency surgery. Not one of our hospitals across Greater Manchester meets all the national quality standards, and some are really struggling.

Doing nothing is not an option. We should have done this years ago, but it was always seen to be too difficult.

At present your chance of being operated on by a consultant surgeon in an emergency at the weekend is much less than during the week, yet we know your chance of recovering well from surgery is greatly improved if it’s carried out by a consultant. At some hospitals its better than others but no hospital can do this 7 days a week.

That cannot be right - but we do know how to put it right. We think it is possible to save up to 1,500 lives over five years in emergency general surgery alone - if we share the expertise of our medical and senior nursing staff.

Currently they are often restricted to one site, with limited staff trying to cover everything 7 days a week. We are proposing to they work together in a “single service”, sharing them between hospitals. Doing this will also make it easier to recruit the staff we need, and we expect to invest in 20% more consultants across Greater Manchester.

But it’s not just about hospitals. It’s about access to a GP, and better community-based services - more services provided locally or at home and joining up the care provided by local authorities seven days a week! All equally important in providing best care.

Leila Williams

Leila Williams

These are just some of the reasons why Healthier Together has to succeed. Who can argue the people of Greater Manchester shouldn’t get best care every day of the week?

The Healthier Together consultation document makes it clear that no hospitals or A&Es will close as part of this programme. This is what it says: 'These changes will make sure every hospital has a strong future. This includes keeping each of our A&E departments open.'

The Greater Manchester CCGs have adopted governance, a constitution and decision making processes for Healthier Together that are fully compliant with NHS legislation and all other relevant law, and that this has been assured by NHS England.

On finance, this has been the subject of a huge amount of work to ensure that our numbers stack up, required by NHS England before we could go out to consultation. This is published on our website. But Healthier Together is first and foremost about saving lives, not money.

By sharing medical staff across hospital sites, we share the workload, spread our expertise and bring those accident and emergency departments that are not best quality up to the standard of those which are.

It is not right to suggest local General Hospitals will be downgraded. They will be upgraded to the standard of the best. Local General Hospitals are regarded as the 'jewel in the crown' and the vast majority of patients will still go there.

The people of Greater Manchester now have a chance to give their own opinion on where the four or five specialist hospitals will be sited.

Healthier Together is driven by local doctors – GPs and hospitals doctors, who have decided this is best for their patients – and of course for our own families – we all rely on the NHS. It is also supported by the ambulance service who have been deciding which hospitals people need to be taken to for years, especially major trauma, stroke and heart attack patients.

What is really interesting is the way Healthier Together is working with local authorities to join up care between GP surgeries and social services, linking in with hospitals. We want to keep people healthy and independent for as long as possible, and avoid so many people needing hospital care in the first place.

Doing nothing is not an option. We should have done this years ago, but it was always seen to be too difficult. Whoever wins the general election next year will be facing the same challenges. We cannot afford to wait - there are too many lives at stake to avoid doing what is right.

Have your say by filling in a questionnaire online or attending an event visit here or call 0800 888 6789. Look online for more information at www.healthiertogethergm.nhs.uk

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AnonymousAugust 4th 2014.

Perhaps Graham can respond here to what she is saying,because there is a huge distance between what she says is planned and what Graham suggests.

AnonymousAugust 4th 2014.

If Graham told the truth it would help...

AnonymousAugust 5th 2014.

So no response eh Mr Stringer! So no A&E closures, more lies from politicians

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan Schofield - editorAugust 5th 2014.

Graham Stringer is on holiday at present so calm down please. We did not need to publish this response but we have done.

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