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High Peak patients to benefit as Stepping Hill is named as specialist hospital

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Stepping Hill is set to become a specialist hospital in a major shake-up of services which will improve care for High Peak patients.

The Healthier Together project looked at which hospitals across Greater Manchester should continue undertaking emergency surgery.

A number of options had been put forward, not all of which included the Stockport hospital, meaning High Peak patients would have had to travel into Manchester if they needed emergency surgery.

Three out of the four specialist sites were chosen earlier in the year and at a meeting yesterday (Wednesday), Stepping Hill was chosen to become the fourth hospital in Greater Manchester to provide emergency medicine and specialist abdominal surgery.

Under the plans, a team of medical staff will work together across a number of hospital sites as part of single service model. Alongside Stepping Hill, the other hospitals to become specialist sites are Manchester Royal Infirmary, Salford Royal and the Royal Oldham.

Ann Barnes, chief executive of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stepping Hill Hospital, said: “We are delighted that we have been chosen as the fourth site to provide emergency medicine and specialist abdominal surgery under the Healthier Together proposals.

“We are committed to working as part of the single service model proposed by Healthier Together to improve the quality of care for people across Greater Manchester and to our neighbours beyond.

“This has only ever been about what is best for patients. Stepping Hill Hospital treats patients from across Stockport, the High Peak and beyond. We are pleased that the commissioners have recognised the significance of our location for providing emergency general surgery, complex surgery and emergency medicine.

“Throughout the consultation we stressed the importance of having a specialist hospital within a critical travel time distance, but also highlighted our excellent results. For example, our survival rates for bowel cancer surgery are the best in Greater Manchester and, in partnership with primary care in Stockport, our one year cancer survivor rates are the fifth best in the country.

“We are a designated A&E trauma unit and have a fully equipped critical care unit, with additional beds already available. We also open a new £17 million centre next year, which will significantly enhance surgical care. Our specialist hyper acute stroke centre is one of only three in Greater Manchester.

“Whilst we recognise that none of the hospitals in Greater Manchester currently meet all of the standards, we already meet a significant proportion and will now work with our partner organisations to deliver on all of them.

“We are looking forward to working with our neighbouring hospitals, as part of a single service, to ensure that all residents can access the highest quality emergency services.

“Healthier Together is about achieving the best results for patients through a truly world class service. It is about saving more lives and safeguarding our NHS services for future generations”.

And NHS North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body member Dr Debbie Austin, who has championed the position of High Peak residents over many months to staff at the Healthier Together programme, said: “We welcome the decision taken yesterday by the Healthier Together Committees in Common to select Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport as the region’s fourth site for emergency and high risk general surgery.

“This decision is great news for those who live in High Peak as it means they will continue to be able to access a specialist general surgery centre within 45 minutes.

“The changes that will now be implemented following the decision are expected to save 300 lives per year.”

And High Peak MP Andrew Bingham added: “I am delighted that Stepping Hill has been chosen. I and others were very vocal at the time.

“I felt the original consultation looked like it would ignore the High Peak, indeed we had to shout to ensure there was even a chance for High Peak people to have our say, but I’m pleased it worked and our voices have been listened to.”