Member's news

Joyce Acton receives award from Ed Miliband

At Labour Party Conference, 3 members were presented with the Merit Award for dedicated, selfless service to the Party. And one of these was our very own Joyce Acton, of Urmston, Stretford & Urmston and Trafford Labour! As you can see from the image lifted from the television, Joyce looks suitably delighted (and a little bit overwhelmed) with receiving such recognition on stage from Ed and Harriet.
For your decades of service to the Party, including serving as a Candidate, Councillor, Exec Member, Campaign Co-ordinator, Mentor and many other titles - thankyou and well done Joyce!

Closure of Stretford Memorial Hospital


Central Manchester Foundation Trust, Council of Governors

Report for Trafford Labour Party


I was elected as one of the three public governors at the in September 2015 on an explicit platform of opposing cuts and privatisation.


In late September the Trust announced, without prior notice or consultation that it planned to close the Stretford Memorial Hospital site by the end of October 2015. No notice, or even basic information, was given to the Trafford Public Governors.


I raised this at the first Council of Governors meeting I was eligible to attend on 14th October. The Trust Chair and management set the agenda for this meeting and really only wanted to discuss the forthcoming CQC inspection of the Trust and how to get a good rating. However, they did undertake to discuss concerns with the Trafford Governors.


After some delays but - probably by our linking the lack of involvement to the forthcoming CQC visit and a suggestion we’d raise the issue - the Trust set up a meeting which took place on 2nd November.



Issues about the Stretford Memorial closure


The following issues were discussed:


  • Was the site viable? The Trust management argued that the site was in far poorer physical repair than they expected until an internal facilities review in August and out-patient numbers averaging 14 per day made it unviable and possibly unsafe to run. This is true, though doesn’t explain why they hadn’t picked it up sooner.

  • Was the involvement of Governors and local people handled well? The Trust management acknowledges it wasn’t. On the Governors they said it was just an oversight – though I’m sure if retiring Governors in the Party - had been told they would have raised it forcefully. More worryingly the Trust lacks the extensive and substantial community contacts in North Trafford that I would have expected.

  • What services should we insist are delivered locally right now? Phlebotomy (blood tests). Local GPs used Stretford Memorial as the most convenient site for local patients. The open access Phlebotomy clinics at Trafford General are inaccessible from the area and already heavily used (“like Fred Karno’s” as described by me by one of the Phlebotomists there).  Here, we seem to have forced some faster change – there are now plans to run Phlebotomy clinics at the Ayers Road Medical Practice within the next two weeks. GPs at the practice have agreed, sample collection systems agreed and a plan to inform North Trafford GPs about the facility in place. Although the Trust may have eventually done this I think pressure from our councillors on Health Scrutiny and from Governors has speeded this up a lot…

  • How can we ensure that services in North Trafford are delivered closer to home? Over time the Trafford Trust and then CMFT have cut back consultant-led clinics at North Trafford. This is wildly different than the way that services in Altrincham are being developed. The Trust has engaged with Trafford Housing Trust about putting services into the new development on Shrewsbury Street where community, library and health and social care facilities will be located from mid-2017. We insisted that they do more to work with THT, use the community involvement networks the Housing Trust have built up and put some real effort into work with community groups (including BME and marginalised communities).

  • What will happen to the site? The Trust, obviously, want to sell it The planning issues are ones for local communities and our councillors, but the Trust does want to discuss possibilities with NW hospices the possibility of a hospice on part of the site. This seems worth us considering/supporting.


  • Nik Barstow



Update on the Urgent Care Centre at Trafford General Hospital

On 19th January the Manchester Evening News picked up and ran a story that Central Manchester Hospitals were planning to downgrade the current Urgent Care Centre at Trafford General to a smaller nurse­led unit by the summer of 2016. The report was substantially correct.


The Trust had held two meetings with staff in December 2015 and they all came away with this impression. The Trust at that stage, said these were “preliminary discussions”.


In reality the Trust had neither informed nor engaged with anyone on this. Not only did they not tell our MP they did not discuss it with Councillors on Health Scrutiny, with elected Public Governors from Trafford or, despite later claims, with the Clinical Commissioning Group.


This was quickly picked up by Kate Green and Jo Harding who got Labour’s view out through the media, insisting that:

  • Patient safety should be the paramount consideration

  • Any decision should be based on evidence, with data on volumes of patients, capacity at neighbouring A&Es, patient experience, availability and capacity of other services locally (including the future of the walk­-in centre) etc – and all this should be shared with the public.

  • There should be full engagement with the public, staff and trades unions before any decision is made.

The process in a bit more detail

Because of the publicity and after some pressure the Trust arranged a briefing for Governors from Trafford on 20th January.

In the discussion Trust managers said they were ‘Miles off from saying how we will deliver this care’, that they ‘Didn’t want to hide behind the 2012 consultation and engage and involve local people and Overview and Scrutiny’ and ‘We need an effective involvement process’. In later press releases, supposedly joint with Trafford CCG, none of this approach is evident.


The Trust saw the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee of Manchester and Trafford Councils on 2nd February as a key event where they would outline what they were doing.


There are some key issues:

There are no clear statistics at present on who accesses the Urgent Care Centre and who goes elsewhere and why. Although the Trust claim that attendances at the Urgent Care Centre have ‘settled down into a regular pattern’ there is no real evidence

The impact of other pressures – on the A&E at Manchester Royal Infirmary, on Wythenshawe where upgraded services and facilities won’t be available for 2 years need

to be taken into account

A lot of hope has been invested into the Trafford Care Coordination Centre that has been commissioned by the CCG in Trafford. This will, in theory direct people to the right services – NHS and social care. But, it doesn’t exist yet.


There are good alternatives such as the direct referral of frail elderly patients by GPs to the Acute Medical Unit at Trafford General. This means people don’t have to go to an A&E or the Urgent Care Centre first. But, only a minority of Trafford GPs use this at present There is also an immediate practical issue. Because working at Trafford General is not attractive to clinicians who want to further their careers because it is seen as ‘ready to close’, the Trust is paying enhanced locum rates to attract staff. These will be ‘banned’ by the NHS from 1st February 2016.


Nik Barstow, Stretford Branch Secretary


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