BELEAGUERED hospital bosses have refused to resign despite mounting public pressure and growing anger among local health professionals.

Tony Halsall, chief executive of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, admitted his job had become ‘very uncomfortable’ after a barrage of criticism and increasing calls for the board to step down.

The Trust’s top man called a crisis meeting with consultants last night to discuss ways to address a catalogue of failings affecting patient care.

He said: “The public expect us to say we’re sorry, to show what we’re going to do about this – but they don’t want to see us walk away.”

Meanwhile, directors came under fire from one of their own governors.

Echoing the damning indictment of management at the trust by a consultant in last week’s The Westmorland Gazette, Ambleside GP and trust governor David Earnshaw demanded board resignations.

“It’s about time they acknowledged they have seriously failed,” he said.

After the Gazette’s revelations last week, dozens of members of the public queued at Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron’s Saturday surgery to tell of their negative experiences and concerns about the way the trust is being run.

At the same time, more than 200 online readers of The Westmorland Gazette echoed dissatisfaction with the board by calling overwhelmingly for high level resignations at the trust.

Eighty eight per cent of voters in the paper’s online web poll said the directors should leave their jobs.

Meanwhile the father of baby Joshua Titcombe, who died after poor care at Furness General Hospital, joined the mounting calls for trust directors to step down.

Dalton dad James Titcombe said: “Subsequent failures of the trust to properly address the issues, demonstrates an inexcusable failure in governance which has continued to put the lives of mothers and babies at risk.”

But, the trust’s board said they were confident they had already made significant improvements at Furness General Hospital, in a step to pacify worried patients and meet the demands of the health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Earlier this year the CQC issued a damning report of the trust’s maternity ward, while health regulator Monitor issued a red risk assessment to the trust’s managing board.

The negative gradings surrounding the trust have been topped with a wide police probe into multiple mother and baby deaths at Furness General Hospital.

Inspectors say their inquiries are still continuing after 10 weeks.