Health Secretary promises top level ministerial meeting over Morecambe Bay NHS Trust vascular services row (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Health Secretary promises top level ministerial meeting over Morecambe Bay NHS Trust vascular services row
HEALTH Secretary Jeremy Hunt has promised to arrange a top level ministerial meeting over plans to move vascular services from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
Answering a health question from MP Tim Farron in the House of Commons today, Mr Hunt said he would authorise a meeting with local MPs and RLI consultants.
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust (UHMBT) and other campaigners have been battling to keep vascular services at Lancaster after NHS Lancashire decided patients with circulation problems should in future be treated at specialist units in Preston, Blackburn and Carlisle.
On Monday, trust chairman Sir David Henshaw described NHS Lancashire’s decision to reject their appeal into the decision as ‘fundamentally flawed’.
He said the trust could now challenge the move by seeking a judicial review.
“The trust is extremely disappointed with this outcome," said Sir David.
“The trust board will ensure that it works with commissioners for the benefits of patients. However, it is now considering its legal position in respect of this and the possible grounds for a judicial review of the decision which we believe is fundamentally flawed.
"Our Vascular Unit has evolved under the strong influence of its consultant staff. It has developed a regional and national reputation, based on excellence of speciality training, and has played its part in national and international research and development.
“We are aware of the strength of feeling in support of our appeal and would like to thank all of our staff, governors and stakeholders for their assistance.”
Mr Farron said: “I’m very encouraged by the Health Secretary’s promise of a top level meeting. It shows we are not at the end of the road. The battle is still there to be won.”
He called on councillors from Cumbria and Lancashire to use their powers and ask the Department of Health to review the decision.
South Lakeland councillor John Holmes said: “It would seem the only reason why Lancaster was excluded was not because of any surgical shortcomings at RLI but more to do with their poor record on appointments and follow ups. These are currently being addressed.”