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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Decision on hospital department
Fairfield hospital, Bury
More acute A&E cases could be sent to Fairfield Hospital
The future of a Greater Manchester hospital's accident and emergency department is about to be decided.

Rochdale Infirmary's A&E unit could be scrapped in a shake up of local health services which would see more people treated at hospitals across the area.

The infirmary could become a smaller "locality" hospital with its A&E unit becoming an "urgent care centre" dealing with minor emergencies.

Hospitals in Crumpsall, Oldham and Bury would treat more serious cases.

Health bosses say changes are needed because specialist staff and resources are spread too thin over the area's four hospitals - Rochdale Infirmary, Bury's Fairfield Hospital, North Manchester General in Crumpsall and the Royal Oldham Hospital.

Patient involvement

Keith Surgeon, chief executive of the "Healthy Futures" review, anticipates that it will take at least five years for all the changes to come into effect if they are agreed at the all-day meeting in Prestwich on Thursday.

He added: "Once a decision is reached, detailed planning work will begin on the changes which will provide better facilities for patients, greater support for those with chronic conditions and centres of excellence throughout the area.

"Patients will be fully involved in this planning work and changes will take time to implement."

The decision will affect 800,000 people in Bury, north Manchester, Rochdale, Oldham, Rossendale, Heywood and Middleton.

However, it will be provisional until December when health bosses from across Greater Manchester decide on the future of maternity and children's in-patient services region-wide.

The review - which emerged after a five-month public consultation - has so far cost more than 655,000.


SEE ALSO
Maternity units may now be saved
13 Sep 06 |  Manchester
Hospital fight taken to capital
12 Apr 06 |  Manchester

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