Centralising services 'bad news' for South Lakeland, warns Kendal Town Council

CONCERN over the distance South Lakeland patients will have to travel to get treatment for conditions that affect the body’s circulation have been expressed by councillors.

Kendal Town Council believes that plans to centralise vascular services at three in-patient centres across Cumbria and Lancashire will be bad news for patients who would normally travel to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

The Cumberland Infirmary at Carlisle, Preston Royal Hospital and Royal Blackburn Hospital have been chosen as the ‘centres of excellence.’ It follows a review launched in 2010 to consider the most effective way of delivering vascular services.

It recommended that eight centres currently offering in-patient treatment should be reduced to three.

Councillors expressed their concern at the distances patients from south Cumbria would have to travel for emergency operations.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has also voiced his objections, tabling an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons.

He says the move would leave ‘vast geographical areas between south Cumbria and north Lancashire danger-ously uncovered’.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust has also lodged an appeal after it was not selected to deliver a centre of excellence at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Commissioners said they felt the trust was unlikely to prove successful in ‘’transitioning’ the service to take on a population of at least 800,000 people.

They also said they were aware of recent concerns that the Care Quality Commission had voiced about the trust, although that did not form part of the scoring process.

Coun Matthew Severn said the trust was improving and changing and that the RLI should have been chosen.

He said there would be a knock-on effect as a vascular surgery reduction in hospitals could render them unable to carry out more complex surgeries.

But Dr Jim Gardner, medical director for NHS North Lancashire, said that vascular surgeons would not be removed from local hospitals.

“Barrow, Lancaster and Kendal will continue to play a pivotal role in primary care management and prevention, diagnostics and investigations, day case procedures and outpatient follow-up care,” he said.

“Many highly successful district hospitals in the UK do not perform arterial surgery and have surgeons who con-tinue to perform other types of surgery, and continue to do that successfully.”

Comments (1)

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4:11pm Wed 12 Dec 12

davidearnshaw says...

As a working GP, I totally concur with all those that are expressing concern over the proposals --- it is unbelievable that Dr Gardner's team can push for two centres in the South of the area concerned -- just 20 minutes apart, leaving a large part of the area well over double that time from the nearest of the two hospitals and that area is South Lakes and parts of South Cumbria -- once again -- a further erosion of emergency care services to our rural County ---; there is a set and recommended time for getting a vascular emergency to an urgent care centre, and because parts of South Lakes and South Cumbria fall outside that journey time, the Commissioning group unbelievably have chosen to themselves arbitrarily extend that time !!! to suit and satisfy their criteria -- that is so incredulous ---- as a fellow professional, hitherto I have always had every respect for Dr Gardner, but on this occasion I feel he is guiding his Committee very much in the wrong direction and for him to say that the Vascular Surgeons would remain working at Lancaster in a reassuring tone is very misleading --- they will not be there to perform emergency limb and lifesaving procedures as now, but just to act in a planned non emergency, minor procedures and diagnostic role. Dr Gardner's committee must revisit this whole scenario with a greater and holistic picture in mind, and understand the potential knock on effect that removal of vascular services is likely to have on the future viability of other emergency services available at Lancaster right now --- but to summarise -- perhaps the biggest nonsense of the decision is the proximity to each other of the two centres proposed ie Preston and Blackburn -- the next nearest will be Carlisle; also as the saying goes -- if it ain't broke -- don't fix it --- we have a first rate experienced well established and respected team of Vascular Surgeons at Lancaster ---- Another big problem that seems to have escaped the Committee's attention is the urgent availability and extra strain put onto the already stretched Ambulance Service -- its all very well saying a journey time from the patient's pick up point should ideally be a certain figure -- but I doubt they have considered how long it may take an emergency Ambulance to reach the patient before whisking them away -- it is not uncommon in South Cumbria and South Lakes for 999 Ambulance response times to be well over 30 mins, which totally throws out any compliance with recommended times for getting vascular emergencies to a vascular surgeon from the time of the initial call for help ---- Preston is a distance too far, and will potentially cause an increase in morbidity ---- think again Commissioners !!!!
As a working GP, I totally concur with all those that are expressing concern over the proposals --- it is unbelievable that Dr Gardner's team can push for two centres in the South of the area concerned -- just 20 minutes apart, leaving a large part of the area well over double that time from the nearest of the two hospitals and that area is South Lakes and parts of South Cumbria -- once again -- a further erosion of emergency care services to our rural County ---; there is a set and recommended time for getting a vascular emergency to an urgent care centre, and because parts of South Lakes and South Cumbria fall outside that journey time, the Commissioning group unbelievably have chosen to themselves arbitrarily extend that time !!! to suit and satisfy their criteria -- that is so incredulous ---- as a fellow professional, hitherto I have always had every respect for Dr Gardner, but on this occasion I feel he is guiding his Committee very much in the wrong direction and for him to say that the Vascular Surgeons would remain working at Lancaster in a reassuring tone is very misleading --- they will not be there to perform emergency limb and lifesaving procedures as now, but just to act in a planned non emergency, minor procedures and diagnostic role. Dr Gardner's committee must revisit this whole scenario with a greater and holistic picture in mind, and understand the potential knock on effect that removal of vascular services is likely to have on the future viability of other emergency services available at Lancaster right now --- but to summarise -- perhaps the biggest nonsense of the decision is the proximity to each other of the two centres proposed ie Preston and Blackburn -- the next nearest will be Carlisle; also as the saying goes -- if it ain't broke -- don't fix it --- we have a first rate experienced well established and respected team of Vascular Surgeons at Lancaster ---- Another big problem that seems to have escaped the Committee's attention is the urgent availability and extra strain put onto the already stretched Ambulance Service -- its all very well saying a journey time from the patient's pick up point should ideally be a certain figure -- but I doubt they have considered how long it may take an emergency Ambulance to reach the patient before whisking them away -- it is not uncommon in South Cumbria and South Lakes for 999 Ambulance response times to be well over 30 mins, which totally throws out any compliance with recommended times for getting vascular emergencies to a vascular surgeon from the time of the initial call for help ---- Preston is a distance too far, and will potentially cause an increase in morbidity ---- think again Commissioners !!!! davidearnshaw

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