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Saturday, 02 August 2014

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Vascular meeting agreed with Hunt

BRITAIN’S health secretary has agreed to meet doctors and MPs who have hit out over plans to take life-saving vascular services further away from the people of South Cumbria.

Jeremy Hunt will meet Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron and others about a regional review of vascular services which has seen plans put forward for specialist care to operate at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Blackburn Hospital.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Furness General Hospital in Barrow, applied to provide a centre at Royal Lancaster Infirmary, where its patients currently receive top-level surgery.

The trust’s application was turned down and on Tuesday the trust was told an appeal it had lodged had failed.

Mr Farron has been campaigning against the move since it was first proposed last June.

He has called on county councillors from Cumbria and Lancashire to use their health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny powers to refer the decision to the Department of Health.

Speaking on Tuesday in an adjournment debate, Mr Farron asked health minister Daniel Poulter for reassurance the decision would be given rigorous scrutiny should they do so.

He also called on Mr Hunt to get involved and the health secretary has now agreed to meet with hospital consultants and the area’s MPs.

Mr Farron said: “The decision to reject the legal appeal could lead to the lives of patients in South Cumbria being put at risk.

“It would be simply unacceptable for local people to be expected to travel these distances in potentially life-threatening circumstances.

“I am glad to have had this opportunity to voice my opposition to this decision in parliament, and will continue fighting as hard as possible to make the concerns of people in Morecambe Bay heard.

“I am very pleased that the secretary of state is taking this issue seriously and has agreed to meet with me and other MPs whose constituents are affected.”

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