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Farron wins meeting with Health Minister in bid to save vascular services

January 15, 2013 1:43 PM

Group of campaigners outside Westmorland General HospitalFollowing yesterday's decision by NHS Lancashire to reject the Royal Lancaster Infirmary's appeal to retain its Vascular Services unit, South Lakes MP Tim Farron has voiced his opposition to the Trust's stance in the House of Commons.

Speaking last night in an Adjournment Debate, Tim called on Health Minister Daniel Poulter MP to reassure people in the south of Cumbria that their local councillors' opportunity to refer NHS Lancashire's decision to the Secretary of State would be afforded rigorous scrutiny should they do so. He followed this up with a question to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in Health Questions this morning. The Health Secretary subsequently agreed to meet with Tim, hospital consultants and other MPs in the Morecambe Bay area to discuss the issue.

Tim also stressed the point that in the majority of cases vascular surgery follow acute trauma such as traffic accidents and coronary emergencies. Tim has argued that the urgent nature of this type of surgery renders the local availability of such services vital particularly in rural areas and has warned that the decision to remove provision in Morecambe Bay could have drastic consequences.

Tim's interventions come as the latest instalment of his campaign to ensure people living in the South Lakes are not forced to travel to Preston, Blackburn or Carlisle for crucial surgery.

Commenting, Tim said: "Yesterday's decision to reject the legal appeal could lead to the live of patients in the South Lakes 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."