A CONSULTATION on proposals that could see patients travelling out of the borough for specialist skin disease treatment has been delayed.

Residents will now have to wait until the new year to have their say on the shake-up of dermatology services.

Health bosses had originally hoped to have had a public consultation completed already but have now asked for more time to assess their "preferred option".

A spokesperson for the Bolton, Salford and Wigan clinical commissioning group (CCG) partnership, said six options originally outlined have been narrowed down to one preferred option; "one main hospital providing the specialist/complex care and a second site providing some specialist care, and the opening of more community-based clinics for routine appointments."

However, the locations for those two main sites are yet to be decided.

The move is set against a backdrop of increasing demand along with a nationwide shortfall of consultants.

The spokesperson added: “Pre-consultation and engagement work for the future of dermatology services for Bolton, Salford and Wigan took place during summer 2018.

“A report of which was submitted to the Partnership Board for consideration on October 30.

“The Partnership Board has now requested that further work is carried out to map and model workforce and estate capacity in line with clinical activity and available resources.

“This is to ensure future delivery of services is sustainable.”

At a meeting of Wigan’s health scrutiny committee earlier this year members were told options under consideration include moving to a two site model, a single site model or a "hub and spoke" model with a main centre and satellite clinics.

Salford Royal is already the dermatology specialist hospital for Greater Manchester.

The CCG group spokesperson added: “The additional work is expected to be completed in the new year when the Partnership Board will consider all the evidence and make recommendations for a full consultation on future services.”

Dermatology services provide treatment for skin diseases from cancer through to acne related conditions.