MP slams decision by minister to remove vascular services from Morecambe Bay
South Lakes MP Tim Farron has this morning criticised Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has announced that vascular services will be removed from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and centralised at 3 sites in Carlisle, Preston and Blackburn.
A regional review of vascular services across the North West in 2012 resulted in the initial proposals to centralise services at Preston, Blackburn and Carlisle. It is expected that these sites will cover the whole of Lancashire and Cumbria, in addition to parts of Greater Manchester and South West Scotland. Immediate after these proposals were first put forward Tim raised concerns pledge to support and work with the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust (UHMBT) to appeal against the decision and stop the plan.
Since then Tim has campaigned against the plans, which will leave a significant number of people in isolated areas of South Cumbria at serious risk, and fought hard to ensure that when the decision came to Cumbria County Council's Health Scrutiny Committee they referred the matter to the Secretary of State for Health to review.
However, today in an oral statement to the House of Commons, Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that these dangerous proposals will be going through. Speaking in the statement Tim raised concerns about the impact this decision will have on rural communities as well as UHMBT, who are currently making huge efforts to recover from the recent crisis.
Commenting after the statement Tim said: "I am completely dismayed by this decision and outraged by the total disregard shown to rural communities in South Cumbria and North Lancashire.
"This decision to move vascular services from Morecambe Bay will have dangerous consequences. Our vascular services unit has not only developed a local reputation but also a national one and removing these services hugely undermines the Trust's efforts to recover. I am incredibly disappointed that the health ministers have let us down."