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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Cumbrian hospital service campaign lifeline

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to keep specialist vascular services as close to South Cumbria as possible have been thrown a lifeline.

Cumbria County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee has thrown a spanner in the works over plans to take top-level surgery away from Morecambe Bay, after voting to refer the decision to health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

A regional review of vascular services has proposed centralising specialist services at three centres in Preston, Blackburn and Carlisle, while more routine surgery and outpatient appointments continue to take place at patients’ local hospitals.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust currently provides top-level care for South Cumbria’s patients at its Royal Lancaster Infirmary, and had applied to be one of the three sites. An appeal against the decision not to select it failed last month.

Last week, Lancashire County Councillors voted nine to four in favour of the plan.

But, following heavy lobbying from campaigners, Cumbria County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee this week decided not to give it their backing.

• Full story in tomorrow's Evening Mail

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