High Peak residents hit out at plans that could see the sickest emergency patients in the borough travelling past Stepping Hill Hospital in favour of Manchester.
More than 100 people attended the consultation event at the Octagon, at Pavilion Gardens, in Buxton, on Tuesday to discuss the Heathier Together proposal, a review of health and care in Greater Manchester,
The public have until September 30 to have their say on whether the Stockport hospital becomes ‘specialist’ or ‘general’.
If it is selected as general, then five per cent of A and E patients and 20 per cent of general surgery patients who would normally be treated at Stepping Hill will be sent to the nearest specialist hospital, likely to be Wythenshawe, in Manchester.
Dr Colin Wasson, an intensive care consultant at Stockport, denied that the shake up was about saving money and said instead it was about “joining up” services and providing the highest standards of care for everyone. He said: “For the past 50 years, the government believed the best way to drive up quality of health care was competition between hospitals but actually all these patients in Greater Manchester should be the collective responsibility of the hospitals.”
But residents voiced fears about how Healthier Together could affect ambulance response times in High Peak and whether it signalled the beginning of more services being centralised. While others questioned why Stepping Hill’s future was in doubt when Manchester Royal, Salford and Oldham hospitals had been guaranteed specialist status.
Cllr Emily Thrane said: “We shouldn’t have to stamp out feet and bang on the table. We shouldn’t have different rights to those in Manchester.”
For more information, visit healthiertogethergm.nhs.uk.