|MP David Morris|
After news reports that Accident and Emergency might close at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Mr Morris contacted the Chief Executive at the University Hospital of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust Jackie Daniel.
While she was not to be drawn on the closure rumours, Ms Daniel told the MP that "Absolutely no decisions about how services may change or be developed have been made and no plans to change services are ‘well advanced’, as quoted... Discussions about how services could be designed and operate and what people want and value most about health services, will help shape these decisions over the next few months."
This line from the Hospitals was also reiterated in a telephone call Mr Morris had with the Trust to express his concerns.
Mr Morris say he is pleased that there are no plans to close the A&E, and welcomes the Trust's review which aims to improve the services the Trust Provides.
"I believe that our emergency services are vital to our community," he says. "To this end I have also written to Jackie Daniel to express my support for the A&E services and their essential role in the local community and have asked her to keep me updated on the review of hospital services."
Like Lancaster MP Eric Ollerneshaw, Mr Morris says he is also concerned by the loss of vascular services.
"The University Hospital of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust submitted an application to be one of three Regional arterial centres and unfortunately their application was rejected and this decision was withheld on appeal, which is disappointing," he says. "The Trust are currently deciding whether they have legal grounds to appeal and start a judicial review, which is something I ,as the Member of Parliament, cannot intervene in.
"I am concerned however on the impact this decision will have on my constituents and to this end I have tabled a number of questions this week to the Secretary of State for Health, the answers of these will appear on theyworkforyou.org as soon as they have been responded to."
Mr Morris questions are as follows:
• To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of i) the potential travel distance patients will have to make to the new Arterial centres in the North Lancashire and South Cumbria Area, and if these distances fall within the national guidelines of 60 minutes maximum travel, ii) the ability for vascular surgeons to travel to another hospital site to intervene if another operation runs into difficulty.
• To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure the Arterial Centres which are to serve North Lancashire and South Cumbria provide a good strategic and geographical fit for the region
"I remain committed to fully supporting the Hospital Trust on this issue," says the MP "and am in regular contact with the Chief Executive who informs me of any changes in the application process."
The government expects the University Hospitals Morecambe Bay Trust to save five per cent of its annual budget, roughly £12.75m a year, which means it has to carry out more work for less money.
Green Party councillor Jon Barry learned from a hospital source that plans are well advanced to drastically reduce the services at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary after a review in services, which will be put out for consultation. Proposals include turning A&E into a GP-run minor injuries clinic, with serious casesexpected to go to Kendal or Preston; and no intensive care unit.
Moving the Blood Transfusion services to Manchester is also a possibility, which Mr Morris did not comment on specifically. Neither would he be drawn on the proposal by government to sell off Plasma Resources UK, the firm responsible for supplying blood plasma products to the NHS, to a private contractor.
• ePetition against the removal of A&E, Maternity and Intensive Care units at Royal Lancaster Infirmary (1330 signatories so far)
• Change.org Petition (450 more signatories needed)