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MP demands Health Secretary abandons ‘dangerous’ plans for hospital merger

October 6, 2020 3:42 PM

Tim speaking in ParliamentOn the floor of the House of Commons this afternoon, local MP Tim Farron warned ministers that plans to merge the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital onto a single site would leave residents in the South Lakes with "dangerous journeys for emergency care".

Over the weekend, the Government announced the 'planned replacement of Royal Preston and Royal Lancaster Infirmary', and today the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, confirmed that a consultation will go ahead to replace them with two hospitals or just one.

Speaking during today's Health Statement in Parliament, Tim said: "In the Secretary of State's statement he spoke with pride about the Prime Minister's announcement on Friday of the additional capital programme for hospitals.

"I have to say that in Cumbria we met that announcement with some dismay. There is a proposal in there to close the Preston and the Lancaster hospitals and to merge them into a single hospital somewhere in between.

"I wonder if the Secretary of State realises that will mean even longer journeys for acute care for people from the South Lakes.

"Will he have a word with the Prime Minister then and drop this dangerous proposal from the consultation so that people in South Cumbria do not have to make dangerous journeys for emergency care?"

In response, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "There is a consultation on whether to have two replacements or one.

"I entirely understand that he takes a position in that consultation but I think it is worth explaining that there is a consultation on whether to replace with two or one hospitals and there will rightly be public engagement with his constituents on which is the right approach."