A GOVERNOR for Leigh Infirmary has spoken out about her concerns about proposals to change healthcare in Greater Manchester.

Healthier Together proposes to create specialist hospitals across Greater Manchester that would be responsible for carrying out emergency surgery, while the remaining hospitals will continue to deliver a range of services as general hospitals and will keep their accident and emergency departments.

Linda Sykes has worked for WWL Trust for 22 years and believes that not enough information has been provided to allow the public to make an informed decision about Healthier Together and about the long-term effect of the plans on the borough’s health service.

“Our concern is that if emergency surgery is taken away from Wigan Infirmary, patients will be taken to a specialist hospital which could be Bolton, or it could be Stockport,” she said.

“There is also the chance that people could be taken out the other way towards East Lancashire, which isn’t in the consultation “The services on the surface wouldn’t change but if it is not designated as a specialist hospital it is the slow knock-on effect that we are worried about.

“We are worried about difficulties recruiting the top staff and if there was a long-term impact on Wigan, that could affect the other hospitals in the trust, including Leigh Infirmary, which at the moment is absolutely fantastic.

Linda, who worked in policy management at the trust before becoming a governor, is asking people to choose 5.1 and 5.2 on the consultation but thinks people need to know more about the plans.

She said: “The Healthier Together programme is so generalised — the specifics are missing.

“The public are being asked to support the consultation process but the questions in the actual document lead people to believe they are choosing something when they’re not. Healthcare has to change, but it is the process of Healthier Together that we have an issue with.”