THE Bury Times will chair a Question Time-style debate on the biggest-ever health care changes planned for Greater Manchester.

A question and answer session on the Healthier Together proposals will be held tomorrow night (Thursday, August 28) at The Met in Bury at 7pm.

The Healthier Together proposals aim to reduce variation in care across Greater Manchester’s health services and Fairfield Hospital would become a local general hospital.

This would mean it would carry out planned procedures and general surgery and retain its A&E department but share services with a specialist hospital — where seriously ill patients could receive emergency treatment.

Members of the public will get the chance to have their say and question a panel of experts including doctors, health bosses and politicians.

The debate will be led byLynn Ashwell, deputy editor of the Bury Times Group, which also publishes the Radcliffe Times.

Dr Kiran Patel, chairman and clinical lead of NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said it was “vital” that residents attended to have their say.

He is making up the panel along with Stuart North, NHS Bury CCG chief officer, Dr Anton Sinniah, deputy medical director at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Fairfield Hospital, and Lorraine Ganley, senior manager of acute episodes at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Also present will be Cllr Rishi Shori, deputy leader of Bury Council and cabinet member for health and wellbeing and Martin Smith, clinical director of emergency medicine at Salford Royal Hospital.

Dr Patel said: “These proposals represent the biggest changes to date to health services in Greater Manchester and this event is a great opportunity for the public to come and find out more about the planned changes and pose questions about how it will affect their local services.

“It is vital that people have their say now about how they want hospital, GP and community services to be provided in the future.”

As part of the plans — which it is claimed could save 1,000 lives every five years — five specialist hospitals will be created with centres in Salford, Oldham and central Manchester already earmarked. Bolton, Wigan, Stockport and Wythenshawe are competing for the last two locations, with North Manchester and Tameside also set to be designated as local hospitals along with Fairfield.

The debate will run until 8.30pm.

Go to or call 0800 8886789. Consultation runs until the end of September.