Closure timetable for Infirmary services set out

Date published: 21 February 2011

A timetable outlining when services will be removed from Rochdale Infirmary has been set out to staff today (Monday 21 February 2011).

Acute inpatient medical services will be lost at the end of March.

A&E will be re-designated as an Urgent Care Centre from 4 April.

At the end of April Acute inpatient gynaecology, general surgery and critical care at the Infirmary will close.

Elective inpatient orthopaedics will stop at the end of May.

And, by the end of June, Maternity inpatient services and delivery unit, children’s inpatient services, cardiology will all be lost.

All of the dates in the timetable are referred to as the “preferred” dates.

The changes are part of the NHS Healthy Futures and Making it Better reconfiguration programmes.

The Rochdale Infirmary will continue to provide services including day case surgery, out-patient and ante-natal clinics, access to physiotherapy and occupational therapy, radiology (including CT and MR scanning).

The Ophthalmology service, currently based at Birch Hill Hospital, will transfer to the Rochdale Infirmary site later this year.

The planned changes to cardiology services are subject to an independent clinical review by the Government’s lead for stroke and cardiology, Professor Roger Boyle CBE, which will take place in early March.

Dr Ruth Jameson, medical director at The Pennine Acute Trust said: “Providing a full A&E department, as well as a range of specialist acute inpatient services with a shortage of middle grade doctors is not in the best interest of patients and is clinically unsustainable. People want and deserve to be treated by doctors, midwives and nursing staff that specialise in their particular need. With these changes in place we will be able to concentrate the skills and expertise of our staff to ensure that all our patients will attend the most appropriate hospital to receive the best treatment and care.

“It has been nearly four years since the plans to change and improve health services under Healthy Futures and Making it Better were consulted on and agreed by the Secretary of State for Health at the time.

“The changes set out under Healthy Futures across the north east sector of Greater Manchester are needed to ensure health services remain modern, safe and sustainable by centralising the resources, skills and expertise of doctors, nursing staff and other healthcare professionals. Healthy Futures always set out to transfer inpatient services from Rochdale Infirmary. Equally, Making it Better always set out to reduce the number of inpatient consultant-led maternity units from twelve to eight across Greater Manchester, and transfer maternity services from Rochdale Infirmary to the new purpose-built £44million unit at The Royal Oldham Hospital.

“The primary driver for these programmes has always been about how we can best use the specialist skills of doctors and nurses. These changes will deliver improved outcomes for our patients and the local population across Pennine.”

Dr Anton Sinniah, consultant physician and clinical director unscheduled care for Rochdale Infirmary, said: “Patient safety is the Trust’s highest priority. In some areas at Rochdale Infirmary we have more temporary than permanent staff. 

"The Trust cannot continue to provide safe and high quality inpatient services at the Infirmary without the full complement of permanent doctors. We now have to make those changes sooner rather than later to make sure our patients are not put at risk. If we do not plan to make these changes we may be faced with unforeseen, unplanned and unpredictable emergency closures.

“The new Urgent Care Centre at Rochdale Infirmary will provide excellent services for those patients who present with minor injuries and illness, with only the most serious cases needing to go to neighbouring A&E departments. 

"It is expected that the new Urgent Care Centre will ensure that 85% of people currently attending A&E will still be able to be assessed and treated at Rochdale Infirmary. And around 85% of all patient treatments currently provided at the Infirmary will continue to be available to local residents including a range of day surgery and outpatient clinics.

Cathy Trinick, divisional director for women and children’s services at the Trust, said: “The timing of the transfer of inpatient maternity services is closely linked to the transfer of other acute inpatient services from Rochdale Infirmary. 

"The urgency of transfer has been exacerbated by the shortage of middle grade doctors across medicine, surgery, paediatrics and obstetrics, and anaesthetics and critical care and this has a knock on effect to maternity services. 

"Inpatient maternity services will be transferred to Oldham as part of Making it Better. All other maternity services, including outpatient antenatal care and scans, will remain at Rochdale Infirmary. Our priority will be to keep staff and our pregnant ladies informed and support them throughout the changes.”

Councillor Jean Ashworth, Chairwoman of the Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and a campaigner from the Friends of Our Hospital group, said: “It is frightening.

“They are determined to go through no matter what we say, what the people feel.

“They are pushing it through so quickly.

“In my opinion they are leaving this borough so unsafe.

“People are already struggling with transport for getting to appointments.

“It is not going to work.”

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