In response to the press release from Keep Wythenshawe Special, Dr Chris Brookes, Executive Medical Director for Healthier Together said:
“Healthier Together is about raising standards and saving lives, our priority is simply the welfare of patients. We want to ensure that national, evidence based standards of care are provided for every patient, every time.
“We know that standards for patients needing emergency abdominal surgery are not being met every time in any hospital in Greater Manchester, including Wythenshawe, this means that patients are dying unnecessarily in every hospital in Greater Manchester. We do not think this is acceptable – we want reliable standards of care for every patient every time.
“KWS’s recent press release questions the use of the 300 lives statistic; we have published how this was calculated on our website. I don’t think any clinician would argue that safer, reliable care will save lives. In my opinion every life is important, so even if we save just one life from these changes then it will have been worthwhile.
“Sir Bruce Keogh’s comments are not a quote about the Healthier Together programme and have been taken out of context – he was referring to the use of mortality data to identify trusts for review as part of the “Review into the quality of care and treatment provided by 14 hospital trusts in England”. To use a quote out of context in this way is ‘misleading’ and irresponsible.
“The Healthier Together model has been developed and endorsed by over 400 senior clinicians from Greater Manchester including clinicians at the University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM). The model and standards have been through a rigorous assurance process and have been endorsed by NHS England.
“I reiterate, Wythenshawe will not be downgraded, all hospitals in Greater Manchester will be upgraded, more doctors will be employed and all hospitals will keep their existing specialisms.
“This legal action will delay us implementing the much needed changes to save more live in Greater Manchester and will cost the tax payer hundreds of thousands of pounds. Greater Manchester CCGs have allocated an initial £500,000 of public funds to defend this case and pay legal advisors. This money should be spent on patient care and improving local services.”