LORD Peter Smith has hit back at claims that Healthier Together could reduce health services in the borough.

The leader of Wigan Council and Dr Tim Dalton, the clinical chair of Wigan’s clinical commissioning group, are calling on the public to have their say on the shake-up of NHS services.

Under the plans, there would be four or five hospitals in Greater Manchester designated as specialist centres and Wigan’s Royal Albert Edward Infirmary could become either of the two options.

Some care professionals have voiced their concerns that Leigh Infirmary may be affected if Wigan Infirmary is not designated in as a specialist hospital.

Lord Smith, who is also chair of Greater Manchester’s combined authority AGMA, said: “Throughout this whole process, we’ve made absolutely clear to those doctors coming up with the plans that patient care has to be the overriding priority.

“These are complex proposals and unfortunately some people have either misunderstood them or are deliberately misrepresenting them. Ultimately, Healthier Together will lead to better services and more lives saved.

“I was personally involved in the process to draw up these plans and I made it clear I would not accept any reduction in services in Wigan.”

They are urging everyone to get involved in the Healthier Together review, which has been designed by doctors with the aim of improving care for patients across Greater Manchester.

Dr Tim Dalton said: “These plans have been put together by doctors who want to deliver the best possible services in the best possible way to the public. That may mean changes to how services are delivered but that’s the right thing to do if it leads to improved care.”

For more information on the consultation, which runs until Wednesday, September 30, visit healthiertogethergm.nhs.uk. Consultation documents are also available GPs, in hospitals and in libraries.