Battle is stepped up over ‘secret’ downgrade move
THE BATTLE is on to save the town’s A&E as critics warn lives will be lost if the department is downgraded.
Macclesfield residents are standing firm against proposals to downgrade the emergency department at Macclesfield Hospital after more than 6,000 people signed an online petition in under a week.
A report leaked to the media last week stated the A&E could be downgraded to a ‘minor injury and illness unit’ (MIIU) which would mean seriously ill patients would have to travel further to A&E in Stockport or Wythenshawe.
Health bosses now say that was contained in the report ‘ by mistake’ and have apologised.
But the statement goes on to say that there is an option on the table to change the A&E unit into an urgent care centre, meaning Macclesfield would still lose its A&E.
Macclesfield MP David Rutley and fellow MP for Congleton Fiona Bruce have said they will do all they can to fight to save A&E services.
And former chancellor and Tatton MP George Osborne said: “I want the best care for my constituents and, with the information I’ve seen so far, that care is best provided by an A&E department.”
This week the health think-tank the King’s Fund has hit out at NHS England saying it has kept the downgrading plans secret from the public.
Meanwhile, different sections of the community in Macclesfield have vowed to fight for our A&E unit.
A statement by Macclesfield Town Council said: “With the strongest understanding of the financial pressures on services, we express our deepest concern. These services continue to face significant demand and if they are removed, patients would be forced to add significant and in some cases life-threatening, time to their journey.
“This will leave 52,000 residents dangerously under-served. It will stretch staff and physical resources, diminish service standards and put life and health at risk.”
Coun Hilda Gaddum, councillor for Sutton who fought plans to cut children’s and maternity services 10 years ago, warned it was a ‘ slippery slope’, adding: “There will be a drip-drip effect.
“Each time you take something away, other services go. It will end up a simple cottage hospital. We must keep fighting.”
The proposal is part of plans to cut costs after hospital bosses in July said they faced a £24m deficit.
Battle lines have been drawn in the fight to save A&E at Macclesfield Hospital, with more than 6,000 people signing a petition against the possibility of it being downgraded to an Urgent Care Centre and MPs also saying they will fight any plans to threaten the town’s emergency provision