A MASSIVE show of support is needed from the people of Bury - and from the local authority - if the town is to successfully merge hospital services onto one site.

The rallying call comes from Bury and Rochdale Health Authority bosses who explained that only with unanimous backing can they successfully bid for the £21.6 million needed to carry out the single-site plan.

It is proposed that Bury General Hospital will close and all services will be based at Fairfield General on Rochdale Old Road. The moves are subject to public consultation until the end of June.

Mr Evan Boucher, Bury and Rochdale Health Authority director of strategic planning and commissioning, urged people to back the plans.

Access to the Fairfield site from Rochdale Old Road is a central issue in the transfer.

Mr Boucher said: "As a former transport planner I would say that the access is passable, not ideal. We need backing from the council in respect of the access and help with solutions.

"Traffic problems will be offset because having all services on a single site will save 3,000 ambulance journeys per year between the two current sites. Movements involving deliveries and staff will also be cut." Public support is vital because the Government is more likely to dish out cash for projects which have the support of the communities set to benefit from them.

"In the bidding round the Government will go with projects which will move forward," added Mr Boucher.

The health authority has organised a series of public meetings, presentations and exhibitions describing the proposals.

Bury Community Health Council has organised public meetings for later this month at which the issue will be discussed. Residents have been urged to attend and have their say on the future of hospital services in the town.

Mr Boucher said: "The sum of the whole will be greater than the sum of the two parts in terms of quality, standards and viability.

"With a single-site operation it will be easier for patients to come in and we will be better placed in terms of the recruitment and retention of key staff.

"It is my opinion that core emergency services as they stand cannot be sustained even in the medium term."

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