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Minister agrees to force health bosses into top-level meeting

February 19, 2008 3:00 PM

Local MP Tim Farron has received confirmation that the Health Minister, Ann Keen is urging bosses from Cumbria Primary Care Trust, the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust and the North West Ambulance Service to come together with Mr Farron and explain the apparent inconsistencies in NHS bosses' promises to local people as part of their proposed cuts in acute services at Westmorland General Hospital.

Mr Farron wrote to the Minister recently expressing grave concern at the possible negative impact on patient care that a reduction in services would cause.

In her letter to Mr Farron, Ann Keen said:

"I have asked Departmental officials to contact the North West Strategic Health Authority to clarify the situation. It is essential that the changes are not implemented until all the interested stakeholders are satisfied that the appropriate alternative capacity and safeguards are in place. I have written to the SHA Chief Executive to arrange a meeting as a matter of urgency."

Responding, Tim Farron said:

"I am pleased that this issue is receiving attention at the very highest level in the Department of Health. I am looking forward to meeting with the PCT, Ambulance Service and UHMBT to take them to task for their apparent rush to close down acute wards when it is clearly not safe to do so."