'Fight is on' to save Trafford General Hospital's A&E

Trafford General Hospital
Image caption Mr Hunt said the hospital will be a specialist orthopaedic centre

Campaigners fighting to save a hospital A&E department where the first NHS patient was treated say they will challenge the decision in court.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Thursday that Trafford General Hospital was to be downgraded in phases.

He said the decision had been taken because there were too few patients using the department.

Campaigners said: "The fight is still on. We've said: 'We'll see you in court.'"

Jo Harding, co-ordinator of the Save Trafford General campaign, said: "The fight against this is most definitely still on.

"We will meet the leader of Trafford Council, where the decision is opposed by councillors of all political persuasions.

"Jeremy Hunt said the patients would go to neighbouring hospitals, but these hospitals are already struggling and Wythenshawe is stretched to capacity. It makes no sense."

'Clinical benefits'

Mr Hunt told the Commons that Trafford was the "smallest hospital in the UK" with the "second smallest accident and emergency department".

Between midnight and 08:00 BST it only sees two patients an hour, he said.

"At peak times it sees seven patients an hour. Half of the population use services outside Trafford.

"For too long, people have not been getting the type of service they should, and deserve to receive."

He also announced A&E services at neighbouring Wythenshawe Hospital are to expand. Trafford will also become a specialist orthopaedic centre.

Mr Hunt admitted some patients would have to travel further but claimed the "clinical benefits outweigh the disadvantages of travel times".

Stretford and Urmston MP Kate Green said that "local people will be angry, horrified and worried" by the decision.

"I'm desperately worried our local NHS simply won't be able to cope," she added.

A Department of Health spokeswoman confirmed that changes will only take place at Trafford once assurances have been given the three neighbouring A&E departments can continue to provide the same level of service and consistently meet standards.

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