Unhealthier together? Patients and protesters slam ‘cost-driven’ cuts ‘ruining’ Manchester’s healthcare

Patients and campaigners are rallying together as the announcement comes that many of Greater Manchester’s hospitals are set to be downgraded after Healthier Together’s review of healthcare.

Commissioners from the Healthier Together Committee agree to new standards of care across all hospitals in Greater Manchester at a meeting yesterday. 

This included the decision to strip emergency surgery from Wythenshawe, Tameside, Wigan, Bolton, Bury, Fairfield and North Manchester hospitals.

Local campaign group, Greater Manchester Keep Our NHS Public has condemned this move and announced plans to host a conference campaigning against the cuts.

Hugh Caffrey, Spokesperson for the campaign group said: “[Yesterday’s] decision means moving lifesaving services further away from hundreds of thousands of people, and adding to the overstretch of healthcare across Greater Manchester.

“These cost-driven cuts will lead to more cuts, putting a question over the continuation of A&Es and maternity services at Wythenshawe, Tameside, Wigan, Bolton, Bury Fairfield and North Manchester.

“Greater Manchester Keep Our NHS Public will be convening a major anti-cuts public conference in the near future to fight back against these plans, under the headline ‘Getting Together against Healthier Together’”.

Unsurprisingly, these cuts are a cause for concern for many patients currently accessing care from specialist units.

At Wythenshawe hospital – one of the hospitals set to be downgraded – Ashleigh Robertson is living with cystic fibrosis and waiting for a double lung transplant.

She said she is ‘really concerned’ about the future for her and the 400 other adults living with CF who rely on the hospital’s specialist services.

Ashleigh added: “The hospital has so far really helped patients like me manage my condition as best as I can and I’m worried that without the access to the broad range of specialist services that Wythenshawe hospital currently has, we could see our standards of care, and our health, suffer as a result.”

Lynsey Beswick, a spokesperson for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust echoed Ashleig’s concerns andis especially worried about the long-term consequences of such a decision.

She said: “We are hugely disappointed by the decision today and have been firmly against it from the beginning. 

“This decision could have unintended long term consequences for other specialist services at the hospital, including cystic fibrosis care. 

“Our petition signed by nearly 2500 people across the cystic fibrosis community and Greater Manchester area tried to keep Wythenshawe as a specialist hospital because its CF unit provides care to more than 400 adults and is just one of the many specialist services provided at the NHS hospital site. 

“We will be following the outcome of this decision closely and hope that the hospital’s ability to maintain their specialist services for patients with cystic fibrosis is not compromised.”

Image courtesy of ajehals, with thanks.

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