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MP secures meeting with minister over controversial hospital merger plans

July 15, 2021 11:48 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has secured a meeting with a Health Minister over potential plans to close the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and merge it with the Royal Preston Hospital.

Last October the Conservative Government announced plans to replace the two hospitals with 'either a single or two hospitals' prompting fears that key health services such as A&E could be moved further away from residents in the South Lakes.

Tim's petition opposing the plans has now reached almost 4,000 signatures.

Speaking during a statement on the Health and Care Bill in Parliament, Tim said: "Lancashire and South Cumbria have a perfectly reasonable boundary, but does the Secretary of State agree that there is concern that, because most rural communities are attached to bigger, more populated urban ones, that can lead to an imbalance in decisions?

"One of the proposals that our community faces is that the Preston and Lancaster hospitals could be replaced by a single super-hospital somewhere in the middle.

"HIP2 - the health infrastructure plan 2 - is a good thing, but that would be very bad thing, because it would mean that people in South Cumbria could have a two-hour round trip just to get to A&E.

"Will he intervene and ensure that any proposals under HIP2 that undermine access to healthcare in rural communities are taken off the table?"

Responding, the new Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: "I listened carefully to what the honourable Gentleman said.

"As I have said, no final decisions have been made, but if he would like a meeting with a Health Minister, we can arrange that so that the matter can be discussed further."

Tim is encouraging local residents to make their views heard on the future of our local hospitals by registering to take part in the NHS' official consultation here.