STRUCTURE: NHS Trafford has begun public consultation on proposals to replace the accident and emergency unit at Trafford General Hospital with an urgent care centre.

In a statement issued by the primary care trust, NHS Trafford medical director George Kissen said the plans would ensure that “growing concerns over the clinical safety and financial viability of the services provided from Trafford General Hospital are addressed”.

He continued: “Trafford General Hospital has the smallest NHS–run A&E in the country. This brings with it major challenges. There are very small numbers of patients using the services there - for many services there are fewer patients than what is considered appropriate by the professional medical bodies for clinicians to be able to ensure their ongoing competency.

“This makes it difficult to attract new doctors, it means that services cost more than they should and it compromises our ability to ensure good clinical outcomes. In short, it means that for too long local people have not been getting the type of service they should and deserve to receive. And we have not invested enough in community and primary care services.”