• Pennine Acute Trust say transfer of emergency and high risk general surgery has “implications” beyond those described during consultation
  • All non-elective inpatient surgery to be transferred out of North Manchester General Hospital
  • Reconfiguration leaders “do not recognise or support” the trust’s view

RECONFIGURATION: Leaders at a major acute trust believe the controversial shake-up of emergency services in Greater Manchester has “implications” beyond those described during a public consultation process.

Commissioners agreed in July to concentrate emergency and high risk general surgery on four sites as part of the region’s Healthier Together programme. This covers acute abdominal surgery.



Under Pennine Acute’s plans emergency surgical services would move to Royal Oldham Hospital

It was also agreed that accident and emergency care would be arranged into four networks, but it was repeatedly stressed that other services would not be affected.

However, board members at Pennine Acute Trust, have said the transfer of emergency and high risk general surgery out of North Manchester General Hospital has more implications.

The minutes of the trust’s September board meeting, published last week, show operations director Hugh Mullen said the trust “had to consider the implications of the transfer of acute abdominal surgery on other types of high risk surgery”.

Mr Mullen expected “all non-elective inpatient surgery to transfer from North Manchester General Hospital at some future point”.

At a council scrutiny committee meeting last week, Roger Prudham, the trust’s deputy medical director, said the concept of general surgery was“increasingly meaningless” as the majority of emergency surgery patients require abdominal surgery.

A spokeswoman for Healthier Together said these views were “not a position that we recognise or support”.

Under Pennine Acute’s plans, emergency surgical services would be transferred to its Royal Oldham Hospital site.

The trust is also looking to concentrate elective surgery on one of its sites, but said no decision has been made on this. North Manchester General will retain day case surgery.

The Healthier Together process is currently subject to a judicial review by a group of doctors at University Hospital of South Manchester Foundation Trust, who believe it will threaten the viability of other specialised services. The case is due to be heard in the High Court next week. NHS England is listed as an interested party and will make representations in support of the changes.

Mr Mullen said in a statement: ”As part of our transformation programme, we are currently in the process of developing a clinical services strategy which is looking at future plans for each of our hospital sites. For example, at North Manchester General Hospital we are building a purpose built intermediate care facility and working with Manchester City Council to integrate health and social care services so that our patients have access to truly joined up services across North Manchester to help them in and out of hospital.”