A SPOKESMAN for Healthier Together dismissed the governors’ fears about the plans and the consultation process.

They said that 90 per cent of the patients attending the A&E at Royal Albert Edward will continue to do so should if Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh be is designated a local general.

Similarly, they estimate that around 80 per cent of general surgery procedures will continue to be delivered by the trust.

“The impact of the proposals on travel time to hospital has been analysed and the eight options that provide the best access and minimal change to travel times have been selected for the consultation,” said the spokesman.

“The standards have been set by senior doctors and nurses to ensure that no patient is put at risk.

“For high-risk general surgery operations, a consultant surgeon and consultant anaesthetist should be present. In Greater Manchester, three out of eight trusts currently meet this standard.”

The spokesman confirmed that some patients may be taken to hospitals outside of Greater Manchester. “NWAS will assess the patient and take them to the nearest hospital that offers the care they need,” he said. “In cases of patients living on the outskirts, this may be outside Greater Manchester.

“NWAS will only take patients to hospitals who deliver the specialist care needed by the patient.”