Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Huge Shake-Up of the 'N NHS 'Could Take Years' ; Bosses in Warning over Reforms 'To Save lives'Football Star's Case Shows Need for Change

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Huge Shake-Up of the 'N NHS 'Could Take Years' ; Bosses in Warning over Reforms 'To Save lives'Football Star's Case Shows Need for Change

Article excerpt

AMASSIVE shake-up of the NHS in Greater Manchester could take 'months, if not years' - but will save thousands of lives, according to bosses.

Health chiefs have released their vision for the future of healthcare in the region - and say it could bring radical improvements.

But they admit it could be a lengthy process - potentially taking years to agree the changes.

They are using the example of retired footballer Fabrice Muamba who suffered a cardiac arrest while playing for Bolton Wanderers at Spurs last March - to support their case for reform and the introduction of a new network of care, provided by GPs and regional super-hospitals working around the clock. Bosses say he is a topical example of why getting to a hospital as quickly as possible in an emergency situation is not always the answer. His ambulance took him past the nearest hospitals to one further away in London that could give him specialist care - and he made an amazing recovery.

The vision report added: "We need to ask ourselves whether Fabrice would have survived if he had been taken to the nearest hospital and the sobering answer is probably not. This is what we mean when we say that it is the quality of the care that is received, not where it is received, that is the most important issue when it comes to saving lives. We are delighted that Fabrice made such wonderful progress and want this treatment to be available to everyone." The document states that the roles of hospitals are likely to change, with some taking on a wider role as centres of excellence - and top consultants working around the clock.

But bosses insist this doesn't mean that district general hospitals will close.

They also say there are no plans to shut A&E departments - but the reform - known as Healthier Together - will look at all aspects of the region's Pounds 6bn health economy, including individual hospital services. They use the example of The Christie to highlight the importance of centres of excellence - with people willing to travel further to get the best possible cancer treatment. …

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