Last week a report leaked to the press indicated that the Cheshire and Merseyside Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) included a downgrade of the A&E department at Macclesfield General Hospital to a minor injuries unit.
Immediately after these leaked plans were published health bosses claimed it was a 'mistake' and there were absolutely no plans to downgrade A&E facilities at Macclesfield General.
So... what to believe?
Eleven years ago I reported on similar plans to close both the Maternity and A&E departments at Macclesfield General as part of the same cost-cutting measures.
NHS Bosses declared a 'public consultation' then went to great lengths to make those 'public' meetings as inconvenient as possible announcing the location at the last minute often timed when most people would be at work.
It was total manipulation with the outcome predetermined before the consultation process even began. What they hadn't anticipated was the depth of outrage in the community and the commitment and determination of campaigners who organised group transport at a moment's notice wherever and whenever meetings were held.
National press exposure and a massive 50,000 signature petition finally persuaded Health chiefs to back down. The idiocy of ferrying urgent cases down the A6 in rush hour with the resultant loss of life was a banner headline they were not prepared to risk.
Yet here we are again with the same old secrecy and the same old assurances we were given in 2005. Had it not been for the perseverance of the local media and the determination of campaign groups these same plans would have been instituted before anyone even knew about them.
Is it logical at a time when politicians are destroying the green belt to accommodate population growth that we downgrade our health care facilities forcing more ambulances onto increasingly congested roads?
Where's the joined-up thinking? You don't increase the number of train carriages and reduce engines at the same time. Unless, of course, you are simply solving one problem by creating another somewhere else.
I'd like to take the STP at their word and believe there are GENUINELY no plans to downgrade facilities at Macclesfield General Hospital. Given my previous experience, however, I think it would be extremely unwise.
Vigilance is the key.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of wilmslow.co.uk.