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Listen Andrew Gwynne to seek reassurances regarding speculation about Tameside Hospital A and E closure

Tameside Hospital’s Chief Executive has denied recent speculation that the Hospital’s A&E will be down graded or closed

Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne, is to seek assurances from Tameside Hospital Chief Executive, Karen James regarding the future of the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Unit.
Speculation has been mounting about the future of the hospital’s A&E unit since research from a specialist Health publication named Tameside as one of the hospitals which would lose its A&E in a £22 Billion rationalisation of NHS rescources.
The hospital was one of 24 named across the country and one of two (along with Fairfield in Bury) in Greater Manchester. The research is then believed to have provided the basis of a story appearing in the Independent Newspaper, that repeated the claims, though the article did not attribute its findings to any clear authoritative source.
Andrew Gwynne  said: “I am extremely concerned to hear the news that Tameside A&E unit has been threatened with closure, not because of safety or poor service, but in order to balance the books.
“I don’t believe that my constituents who rely on Tameside Hospital should lose out just because the government can’t get a grip on the NHS. But if these proposals do go through, patients’ lives will be put at risk as ambulance journey times to reach emergency units take longer.
“I’ll be speaking to the Chief Executive of Tameside Hospital, Karen James, who since being appointed in 2014 has turned the hospital around, and we’ll be working together to fight any attempts to close Tameside’s A&E.”

Andrew Gwynne MP is fearful f0r the future of Tameside Hospital’s Accident and Emergency unit and is seeking safeguarding talks regarding the departments future with Chief Executive Karen James.

This speculation of closure comes after interviews with Chief Executive Karen James, who told the Tameside Reporter’s Tom Greggan: “There are no plans to currently downgrade the department, its a very busy A&E department and we need to ensure we have services here to support the needs of the community. So they will have an A&E department here at Tameside”
We asked a source at the hospital why the speculation about closure and if there was any truth in the rumours.
The source said: “I am sure this speculation started following an enquiry from a health publication  a couple of weeks ago, about redirecting specialist cases from Tameside to other Hospitals.
“We informed the publication that following a plan instigated two years ago under the title of ‘The Healthier Together’ consultation, Tameside, along with other Greater Manchester Hospitals, will routinely send a certain type of emergency to a “Specialist hospital” In the case of  acute abdominal emergency cases we will send those to a specialist unit in Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.”

This is nothing new, there are four specialist hospitals across Greater Manchester and the consultation will work on the same principle as sending serious head trauma cases to Salford Royal Hospital, that has a specialist department dealing in those type of emergencies.

Other hospitals in the region will redirect patients to whichever their specialist hospital is. This was the basis of the Healthier Together consultation which has not been fully implemented yet.

A spokesperson for Tameside Hospital said: “There is no ‘Greater Manchester service reconfiguration’ other than Healthier Together, which concluded decision making in the summer of 2015 and is now being implemented.”

“Under these changes it was confirmed that:Greater Manchester will invest in bringing all of its A&Es up to a new, higher, quality standard; in fact since the decision was made in summer 2015 improvements have already started, including recruitment of more emergency department staff.”
Given the pressure that A&E departments have come under during the past winter, the idea that the NHS could close 24 of it’s A&E units nationally, seems totally impractical and these predictions of closures from sections of the press, seem for the moment, to be rooted in speculation rather than hard fact.