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THE Royal Bolton Hospital is bidding to become one of five specialist super centres in a huge shake-up of NHS services across Greater Manchester.

The public will be asked to decide which hospitals they want to become specialist centres as part of the Healthier Together review, which is due to go to consultation this summer.

Health chiefs — who say the restructure could save up to 1,000 lives every five years — have already earmarked Salford, Oldham and Central Manchester as specialist centres.

The Royal Bolton has been shortlisted alongside Wigan, Stockport and Wythenshawe to become one of two other specialist hospitals in the region.

North Manchester, Fairfield in Bury and Tameside could be classed as "local hospitals" under the proposals — also a possibility for Bolton if it is not chosen as a specialist centre.

All hospitals across Greater Manchester will operate as part of a “single service” where two local hospitals will share services with a specialist hospital.

Access to GP practices and local authority services will also need to improve to provide more care in the community and in people’s homes.

Healthier Together medical director and A&E consultant Dr Chris Brookes says the changes will improve the quality of healthcare for patients.

Dr Brookes said: “This whole proposal is about improving the quality and safety of healthcare for patients.

“The blueprint for the proposals is around the concept of a single shared service where the specialist hospitals work with the local hospitals.

“Currently hospitals are working in isolation from each other. They are not sharing services or staff — each place is trying to do everything.”

Health commissioners — including the NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) — voted unanimously to accept the proposals, which will be reviewed by NHS England before they go before the public.

Healthier Together says the Royal Bolton’s A&E department and maternity services are not under threat.

The Bolton NHS Foundation Trust will have to meet a set of criteria if it is to win the status.

The public will be encouraged to decide where they want the specialist centres to be based and must consider these factors:

  • Access to the hospital, such as public transport
  • Current patient experiences of that hospital
  • The financial position of the hospital

The capacity and workforce of the hospital Dr Jackie Bene, chief executive of the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We feel that in Bolton we have a strong case to be a ‘super hospital’.

“We have many highly regarded services, including the second busiest A&E in Greater Manchester and our maternity and children’s services and our performance over the past year has been very good.

“It is right and proper that local people should be consulted on the proposals and I’d urge them to let their views be known.”

Dr Wirin Bhatiani, Bolton CCG, added: “Our hospital services currently have highly variable quality and safety standards and this has led to variable outcomes and experiences for our patients. There is a real issue of a limited workforce spread thinly across all hospital sites.”

Patients will be able to give their view on the plans during a series of public events set to take place over the summer.