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Healthier Together

What is Healthier Together?

NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group issued a response to the Healthier Together consultation in Greater Manchester.

Healthier Together have proposed changes to healthcare across Greater Manchester including:

  • Increasing GP hours
  • Implementing specialist hospitals to offer specialist treatment to emergency care

In partnership with the Healthier Together programme we have held listening events in Wilmslow to enable members of our population to help shape the Healthier Together programme - the country’s largest healthcare transformation - by talking to leading clinicians and sharing their views.

Healthier Together representatives explained their plans to improve access to GP and primary care, to join up care in the community and at home, and to change the way hospitals work. Of particular interest to Eastern Cheshire residents was the option for Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport or University Hospital South Manchester, Wythenshawe to be given specialist hospital status.

NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG's Response

Below is the formal response to the Healthier Together Consultation. You can also download the letter by clicking on the following link here.

This letter provides a formal response by NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to the Greater Manchester Healthier Together consultation.

NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG is not part of the Greater Manchester Health Economy and therefore information used and proposals made do not refer to the organisation explicitly. However the CCG has been a non-voting associate member to the Healthier Together programme in recognition that its residents do access services in Greater Manchester and any changes to hospital configuration there may affect access by our residents and indirectly services that may be commissioned by the CCG in Eastern Cheshire.

For this reason the CCG believes it appropriate to respond in full to the consultation.

NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG supports the Healthier Together case for change and agrees that health and care services should be provided to a reliable, high standard every time. We agree that the way services are currently provided needs to change in order to meet the challenges facing health and social care services in Greater Manchester now and into the future.

We strongly support the plans in Greater Manchester to focus primary care on supporting people to manage their own health and maximise their role of the full primary care system. We also support the Healthier Together plans to join up the care system, GPs, community-based nursing teams, hospitals and social care teams working closely together. We believe this is better for patients because they can be cared for outside of hospital more effectively.

The CCG agrees that hospitals are not always the best place for children to receive their care and supports the need to improve the availability of community-based care for children. This means that services will need to change.

We agree that hospital services need to change to meet current and new quality and safety standards 24 hours 7 days per week in order to provide the best care for residents and patients and that for the Greater Manchester economy, doctors and nurses working in teams that provide care across Specialist and local General hospitals as part of a single service may be the best approach.

The CCG tends to agree that providing specialist care at a smaller number of hospitals will raise standards of care to achieve the quality and safety standards for some services where access to specialist care needs to be concentrated. However this approach needs to be balanced against a more holistic and innovative look at quality standards from the perspective of the patient, and not just from the perspective of the NHS provider. For some specialised services we agree that the single service model is beneficial, however we believe that more consideration is needed to ensure that the single service model also enables hospital consultants to work more closely with GPs and community staff away from a hospital setting.

We note that the Healthier Together consultation is seeking opinions on whether there should be four or five specialist hospitals. We do not believe that the number of hospitals is relevant, but that the access to specialist centres from populations outside Greater Manchester must be considered within the consultation. NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG is strongly supportive of there being a specialist hospital within the South Sector of Greater Manchester so as to ensure that the population of Eastern Cheshire and neighbouring CCGs in Cheshire and Derbyshire have good access to specialist services within reasonable travel times. We therefore DO NOT support options 4.1 and 4.2. We recognise that there are differing benefits to either Wythenshawe or Stepping Hill Hospital being a specialist hospital – but we do not believe that at this point in time that the evidence is sufficiently clear to differentiate between the two hospitals. On this basis we will not indicating a preferred option.

In summary NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG:

  • acknowledges changes in health and social care in Greater Manchester are required to provide consistent high quality services that are sustainable for the future
  • agrees that the transformation of primary care is essential and that joining up health services and social care is the most important step in improving holistic patient care, as demonstrated locally through the Eastern Cheshire Caring Together programme
  • considers that changes to hospital services are necessary to raise standards, but a move to more specialised centres should not compromise the development of out of hospital services, nor be undertaken without due consideration to populations outside Greater Manchester that use those services
  • strongly holds a view that the residents of Eastern Cheshire and surrounding rural areas must have access to specialist services within reasonable travelling times and as such only supports options containing specialised services within the Southern Sector of Greater Manchester.


Yours faithfully

Dr Paul Bowen BMBS MRCGP                             Jerry Hawker

General Practitioner                                              Chief Officer

Chair, NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG                          NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG


In July 2015, the CCG submitted an additional response to the Healthier Together Committee in Common with regards the location of the fourth single service site. The CCG letter can be viewed here

Further Information

For further information about the Healthier Together programme, please visit their website here.