STRUCTURE: The reconfiguration of maternity services across Greater Manchester may open up a “new market” for East Lancashire’s Burnley General Hospital, trust board papers state.

East Lancashire’s Forward Plan Strategy for 2012-13 to 2014-15 explains that the Making it Better initiative “is a Greater Manchester-wide series of interlinked actions, designed to improve the system of children’s, maternity and neonatal healthcare across Greater Manchester”.

It continues: “This will result in the closure and consolidation of services in surrounding trusts, for example Fairfield Hospital, which is part of Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, will no longer accept overnight maternity and neonatal services from Spring 2012, potentially opening up a new market for the Women and Newborn Service on the Burnley site.

“We are working with commissioners and providers as necessary in order to fully understand the implications of these service reviews.”

It adds: “We… aspire to be the provider of choice for obstetrics not only for the local population, but also, through a strong reputation for quality of care for patients from neighbouring areas.

“With the opening of the state of the art Lancashire Women’s and Newborns Centre on the Burnley General site in November 2010, the service has the capacity to attract activity from beyond the immediate catchment area.

Closure and consolidation of services in surrounding trusts under the Making it Better initiative provides the service with the opportunity to correct some of the drift to other providers and attract additional patient flow.”