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MP welcomes council committee decision on vascular but says "Minister must now save unit"

February 1, 2013 9:27 AM

Tim and the Lib Dems at WGHCumbrian MP Tim Farron welcomed the news that Cumbria County Council's Health Scrutiny Committee have thrown a spanner in the works over plans to move vascular services away from Morecambe Bay.

Councillors have voted to refer the matter to the Secretary of State for Health, rather than endorse the plans to close vascular services. Tim has campaigned strongly against the closure of the unit, warning that it will leave a significant number of people in isolated areas of South Cumbria at serious risk.

Last week councillors from Lancashire voted 9-4 to move specialist vascular surgery away from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, but today Cumbria's councillors have asked for the Secretary of State for Health to personally review the case. In the run up the meeting Tim pressed the councillors strongly to take this course of action.

Tim now plans to meet with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt urgently to discuss the issue.

Tim said: "Today's announcement is a welcome step and I thank the councillors for making their decision. I'm pleased they have listened to residents and Parish Councils. Today's decision was down to their hard work and campaigning. I don't think I would have been able to make the case I have without them. The next step is to lobby the Secretary of State and try and make him see that the vascular plan is flawed and very dangerous.

"The plan to remove all vascular surgery from Morecambe Bay is extremely concerning and I am very worried about the risk this might pose to people across the south of Cumbria - I think it will put lives at risk. It is absolutely vital that we protect our vascular services at Morecambe Bay and I will continue to do everything I can to fight these plans."