Hospital to lose vital services

Date published: 26 January 2011

Rochdale Infirmary is likely to lose its maternity ward and A&E department by April this year.

A briefing paper drawn up by the Pennine Acute Trust for the Healthy Futures Programme shows plans to convert the A&E department to an urgent care centre, to move maternity services off the site and to remove all acute medical beds by April.

The timetable, which Rochdale Online has seen, also shows that inpatient services will be removed and the Springfield Ward will change into a 23-hour stay surgery (from November).

It also shows that the Silver Heart Unit may have to relocate but it doesn’t state where to.

The document also shows that bosses are considering demolishing as much as the old buildings as possible and moving renal, OPD, admin and GUM services to the new development.

It is suggested in the timetable that the Rochdale Infirmary site be used as an admin base for the Trust.

Hospital campaigner, Councillor Jean Ashworth described the timetable as “very worrying.”

She said: “It really is quite concerning. We have been promised a review of cardiology by Dr Roger Boyle in March so why is the Silver Heart Unit still on the list?

“It is disgraceful that this is still being considered.

“We are being left so unsafe. The Trust is rushing and pushing these changes through.”

Councillor Ashworth added: “It is an absolute shock that by April this borough is going to be left with such short services to look after our sick, our elderly and our most vulnerable.

“Just by reading the list it is clear the trust is determined put their plans in place, regardless of consultation, regardless of reviews – it doesn’t give us much faith.

“It is worrying at which the speed of this is happening.”

Councillor Ashworth also said that the impact of these changes on the other hospitals in the Trust, The Royal Oldham, Fairfield and North Manchester General is going to be “phenomenal.”

A spokesperson for the Pennine Acute Hospital Trust, said: “The Trust has recently announced plans to move its acute inpatient services from Rochdale Infirmary as part of the Healthy Futures Reconfiguration Programme which was agreed by the Secretary of State for Health at the time in 2007.

“The plans are being drawn up for implementation from April 2011 onwards in order to provide a more certain guarantee of the safe provision of services across Pennine.

“The timing of the transfer of maternity services is closely linked to the transfer of other acute services from the hospital and the approval already given for the major new £44m women and children’s development at The Royal Oldham Hospital, encompassing new maternity, paediatric and neonatal services for the residents of Oldham, Rochdale and surrounding districts.

The spokesperson continued: “It is essential that our services remain clinically safe. For this reason, we would prefer to relocate maternity services at the same time as the other acute inpatient services. Our doctors and midwives are currently in the process of making detailed plans to enable the transfer of maternity services from Rochdale Infirmary.

“An important part of this will be keeping staff, patients and the public informed throughout. Our midwives will ensure expectant women are kept informed of whether changes to local services will affect them during their pregnancy. All day surgery and outpatient services, including antenatal clinics and scanning will remain at the infirmary.”

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