Residents are being urged to have their say in a controversial shake-up of hospital services after town hall bosses asked the government to step in.
Councillors of all parties have slammed plans to downgrade Trafford General’s A&E department and asked health secretary Andrew Lansley to intervene.
NHS Trafford bosses say the service is too small and expensive to be run safely – but insist they are eager to hear the public’s views.
A major campaign to save the department was launched after the plans were unveiled last month.
Thousands of protesters marched against the move – which could see emergency surgical admissions, inpatient surgery and ambulance transfers axed – and Trafford council warned it could raise health inequalities.
But the health trust points out the department – the smallest A&E in the country – is facing a £19m shortfall and already faces ‘growing concerns’ over clinical safety, which need to be addressed.
It also insists more care can now be safely delivered outside of hospital, such as in GP surgeries and at home.
Health chiefs are now holding a string of public meetings across Trafford so residents can air their views about the hospital’s long-term future.
A spokesperson for NHS Trafford said: “Current services delivered out of Trafford General Hospital have to change.
“We believe that it is really important that all local people have their say on the proposal as soon as possible, to enable us to fulfil our legal responsibility and commission the safest and highest quality services for our local residents, which represent the best value for money.”
The first public meeting will take place on Tuesday, August 14, at Altrincham town hall, from 10.30am to 12.30pm.
Further meetings will be held in Urmston, Sale, Old Trafford, Partington, Davyhulme, Stretford and Flixton over the next six weeks.
Booking is essential. To register or for more details visit www.healthdeal.trafford.nhs.uk or call 0161 873 6008.
Manchester Evening News, 9 August 2012