In response to ‘Keep Wythenshawe Special Limited’ seeking permission for a Judicial Review, Dr Nigel Guest, GP, Chief Clinical Officer of Trafford CCG and member of the Healthier Together Committees in Common, said:
“We are extremely disappointed that Keep Wythenshawe Special Limited, a company formed by a small number of doctors, is pursuing legal action against the 12 Greater Manchester Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). We understand this legal action is not supported by, or being funded by, the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM) Board.
“At a time when the NHS faces increasing financial pressures, Greater Manchester CCGs have had to allocate an initial £500,000 of public funds to defend the case to pay legal advisors. This money should be spent on patient care and improving local services.
“We have met with these individuals a number of times to understand their concerns and tried to resolve the issue collaboratively, rather than going through a legal process. However, the group have refused further meetings and have formed a private company, Keep Wythenshawe Special, in order to sue the NHS.
“We are also concerned about an email that was sent recently to GPs in Manchester and Trafford which was full of inaccuracies and will no doubt cause unnecessary anxiety and upset for patients. We remain clear as stated on page 77 of the Healthier Together Report that no A&E will close and every A&E will remain open 24/7.
“As doctors, and healthcare commissioners, we will continue to make the improvements to healthcare that patients need and deserve.”
Lord Peter Smith, Leader of Wigan Council and Health Lead for Devolution, said: “All partners in Greater Manchester have worked hard to develop proposals that address the health inequalities and variation across Greater Manchester.
“Our number one priority is the welfare of patients; lives are lost each year unnecessarily across Greater Manchester because none of our hospitals meet all of the national Quality and Safety standards. The Healthier Together changes aim to improve all hospitals. This legal action could halt the employment of an additional 13 A&E doctors and 22 surgeons to ensure reliable, high quality care is provided to all patients every time.
“The Healthier Together proposals have been independently reviewed by senior doctors to ensure the plans benefit all patients. Local doctors have continued to reiterate the proposals have been thoroughly assessed and Wythenshawe will continue to provide specialist services as they do now, unaffected by Healthier Together”.