The quality of care being delivered at hospitals across Greater Manchester varies dramatically at the moment. As a result, people are getting unequal access to treatment and lives are potentially being put at risk. None of our hospitals meet all the national quality and safety standards and patients are twice as likely to die after general surgery at some hospitals in Greater Manchester than others.
Only 3 out of our 8 hospitals have a consultant present in A&E for a minimum of 12 hours per day, 7 days a week, meaning that patients who are seriously ill often are not seen quickly by a senior doctor.
Nearly three quarters of people (73%) and organisations who responded to the three month consultation agreed with the need for change - that hospital services need to re-organise to meet quality and safety standards. The findings showed that at least two thirds (67%) of people were in favour of doctors and nurses working in teams as part of a ‘single service’. Four out of five people (80%) said a system of joined up care involving local authorities and the NHS was needed and nearly all people (85%) agreed that children and young people should be cared for closer to home.
The results have been independently verified by Swansea based research company, Opinion Research Services, who analysed 29,347 replies – most of which came through the formal consultation questionnaire and others from a range of meetings, letters, petitions, a household survey, and pledges. Replies to the consultation questionnaire were the largest public response to a regional consultation about health services conducted in England in the last decade.
Under the Healthier Together hospital plans to drive up quality and safety, ‘single services’ will be formed – networks of linked hospitals working in partnership. This means care will be provided by a team of medical staff who will work together across a number of hospital sites within the single service. All hospitals within the single service will be improved. It is estimated this could save up to 300 lives a year across Greater Manchester.
In an emergency, you will be taken to the right hospital just as happens now. If you call an ambulance, paramedics will decide which hospital to take you to for the specialist care you need. If you attend hospital yourself, doctors there will assess you and if you need to go to another hospital they will arrange for you to be taken to the appropriate one.
If you are transferred to a specialist hospital, once you are well enough, you will be transferred to your local hospital or home to recover. Extensive work has also been carried out to make sure that you and your family will be able to get to any of the specialist hospitals within a reasonable time, whether as a patient or visitor.
The proposals will mean improvements to all hospitals across Greater Manchester. One of Healthier Together’s aims is to recruit 20% extra consultants and for a consultant to be present in A&E for a minimum of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Evidence from around the country suggests that single services raise standards and attract more staff because they are seen as an effective way of working.
Other benefits include reducing waiting times in A&E as well as the length of wait before patients see a senior doctor.