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Wythenshawe Hospital A and E

Volume 548: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2012

8. How many patients attended the accident and emergency department at Wythenshawe hospital in the last 12 months for which figures are available. (117285)

The Department does not collect data on accident and emergency attendances at hospital level. These data are only available at trust level. In the 12 months up to 8 July 2012, there were 108,393 accident and emergency attendances at University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.

I am grateful to the Minister for that reply, and I am sure he will want to join me in thanking the staff at Wythenshawe A and E department, particularly given that that colossal number of 108,000 attendances has taken place in a unit originally designed for 70,000 patients. However, if the A and E department at Trafford general hospital is closed, as is currently proposed, that would lead to a still greater increase in the number of patients at Wythenshawe A and E. Given that, is it not essential that the £11.5 million that will be required for extra facilities at Wythenshawe should be made available?

I hope the right hon. Gentleman is not disappointed, but I cannot add anything to the answer I gave in the debate we had last week when he asked that specific question. I can assure him, however, that local commissioners have assessed the impact of the proposed changes at the Trafford and other hospitals, including Wythenshawe. The plans are still at an early stage and are yet to go to public consultation, and I have been informed that local commissioners will continue to review the impact of these changes on the other hospitals, including Wythenshawe. I urge the right hon. Gentleman, other Members whose constituencies are in the area and their constituents to contribute fully to the consultation process.

The Minister knows that the proposal is, first, to reduce services at the Trafford to urgent care provision and then, within not less than two to three years, to a minor injuries unit. What processes will be put in place to ensure that the most stringent criteria are applied in respect of investment in Wythenshawe and the other hospitals, as well as in Trafford community services and improved services to patients, before any such further move is contemplated?

As the hon. Lady will be aware from the debate we had last week, these proposals are subject to the consultation process and to consideration of the results. Commissioners fully recognise the need to minimise the impact the changes will have on neighbouring A and E departments and other services. The Trafford and South Manchester clinical commissioning groups are working on developing further integrated care services, and on developing community care services as an alternative to hospital care, as well as on ensuring that the final decisions meet the needs of the local health economy by providing first-class quality care for the people of that area.

Of course, it is not just Wythenshawe A and E that is facing difficulties. All Members throughout the House are grateful for the work our medical professionals do in extremely trying circumstances, but the truth is that the Government’s chaotic reorganisation has resulted in longer waits in accident and emergency. The Minister of State said last night that A and E departments were meeting the target, but figures published by his Department last week show that the Government have failed to meet the 95% target across major type 1 A and E units. If he cannot get his own figures right, he cannot expect to command the trust of patients or medical professionals. Will he now take this opportunity to show some respect for this House, for the public and for patients in general, and correct the record?

Order. May I just explain that the Minister did not widen the parameters of the exchange and therefore they should not be widened, so he is perfectly within his rights, if he wishes, to focus his reply on Wythenshawe. I hope he is not going to be too disappointed. We’ll give it a go.

I am most grateful.

Of course, the hon. Gentleman is playing with the figures. As he knows from previous discussions, he is talking about the SITREP—situation report—figures, which do not form the basis of the figures the Government use. [Interruption.] If he will keep quiet for a minute and listen, I will reiterate the point I made last night. Regarding A and E waits of under four hours and the percentile of 95, we are at 96%, which means we are within and above the level set down by the Government’s figures.