A petition has been launched to save Wythenshawe Hospital’s cystic fibrosis (CF) facilities and ensure sufferers of the genetic condition in Manchester can continue to receive treatment.
The petition, created by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, aims to ensure the hospital’s specialist emergency services – one of the largest of its kind in the UK – are not downgraded.
The Healthier Together programme, who are currently reviewing health and care in Greater Manchester, are looking to centralise emergency specialist care to four or five specialist hospitals.
This would mean other hospitals could be downgraded to a ‘general’ status, something the charity fears could see Wythenshawe Hospital lose its specialist services for diseases like cystic fibrosis.
More than 2.5million people in the UK live with CF and the specialist department at Wythenshawe Hospital is vital to continue their treatment.
Lynsey Beswick, Public Affairs Officer at the CF Trust, said: “The CF unit provides care to more than 400 adults from across Greater Manchester and is just one of the many specialist services provided at the NHS hospital site.
“The petition to keep Wythenshawe as a specialist hospital was launched so that patients, including those from the CF community, can demonstrate their support for Wythenshawe hospital and the services provided.”
CF is an inherited disease caused by a faulty gene; the gene controls the movement of salt and water in and out of cells.
This can cause the lungs and digestive system to get blocked, making it harder to breathe and digest food.
“We are the only site in Greater Manchester to possess such a comprehensive portfolio and thoracic and plastic surgeries are unique to our trust. These are services which are also critical to the outcomes for our trauma patients and patients who arrive in an emergency and need immediate specialist care.”
Chantelle Millward, 18, who has received care for her CF at Wythenshawe Hospital her whole life, is a key supporter in making sure that the CF service remains at the hospital.
“I want to stay at the Wythenshawe, it’s a fantastic place, and its service is brilliant,” she said.
“The care you receive is second to none, really helping patients to manage the condition and all the CF treatments.
“They really help you to feel normal, and not let CF get in the way of your everyday life.”
Healthier Together currently have a consultation questionnaire and are looking for people’s opinions regarding their plans for Greater Manchester’s health and care.
Dr John Crampton, medical director at Wythenshawe Hospital, said: “We are also concerned that the longer term unintended consequences of not being recognised as a ‘Specialist Hospital’ would inevitably mean our ability to maintain and enhance our specialist services could be compromised.
“We are NOT saying that our world class specialisms would be immediately affected, but there may be an unintentional wider impact on our specialist portfolio. This includes general acute, chest (thoracic), trauma and orthopaedic, vascular, plastic, head and neck (maxillofacial) and ear, nose and throat surgery.”
When Ms Beswick was asked about the Healthier Together consultation she said: “Healthier Together consultation has meant that Wythenshawe Hospital is not guaranteed to be designated as a specialist hospital.
“Furthermore it has not been made clear within the consultation what might happen to specialist services – including CF care if Wythenshawe is downgraded to a general hospital.”
This follows news that Wythenshawe Hospital has released plans for a £12million upgrade to the A&E department.
Dr Attila Vegh, Chief Executive at University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Wythenshawe Hospital, said: “It’s amazing to think that very soon the developers will be moving in, transforming the building.
“And also working with us to create our vision of a facility that can meet the demands of today’s healthcare for the foreseeable future.
“It’s a fantastic place, and its service is brilliant.”
The petition currently has 2,120 signatures and the consultation is open until the September 30.
If you would like more information or would like to sign the petition click here.
And if you would like to share your views about the Healthier Together, you can find there consultation questionnaire here.
Main image courtesy of Mikey, with thanks
Inset image courtesy of Cystic Fibrosis Trust, via YouTube, with thanks