In response to Keep Wythenshawe Special Limited’s intention to issue legal proceedings, Dr Nigel Guest, Chief Clinical Officer of Trafford CCG and member of the Healthier Together Committee in Common, said:
“We are extremely disappointed about this legal challenge which could cost the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds, as well as delay the urgently required changes needed to improve patient care.
“None of our hospitals in Greater Manchester currently meet all of the national quality and safety standards. Each day we delay implementation of these standards will result in poorer care for the people of Greater Manchester.
“We know that Wythenshawe is a special hospital, due to its wide range of specialised services. It treats patients for major cardiac surgery, heart and lung transplants and cystic fibrosis and it will continue to do so, unaffected by Healthier Together. This is not about downgrading Wythenshawe hospital, or any other hospital in Greater Manchester, just the opposite. All hospitals will be improved and more doctors will be employed. No specialised services will be affected as a result of the Healthier Together decision, as these services are out of scope.
“We understand this legal action has been initiated by a small group of individuals. It is not supported by, or being funded by, the UHSM Board.
“We have met with these individuals a number of times to address their concerns and tried to resolve the issue collaboratively, rather than going through a legal process - because our priority is the welfare of patients. This legal action is a complete waste of NHS resources; we should be dedicating our time and resource on providing the best patient care.
“These proposed changes have been subject to rigorous, independent assurance both in terms of the clinical proposals and the change process, prior to consultation and through the final decision making period.
“Senior consultants from UHSM have been involved throughout this process, from the beginning over two years ago. We are determined to continue working closely with clinical colleagues to ensure we provide the best possible services for patients and ensure a viable high quality service to patients from UHSM”.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "There is no doubt about the integrity and extensive nature of the Healthier Together consultation exercise. This was a robust, transparent process - and even when location decisions have not been popular in some quarters, they can be accepted because they are the result of a full and open process."