A LEGAL bid to stop vascular services being moved from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary has failed.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) appealed against a proposal by NHS Lancashire to centralise treatment in Preston, Blackburn and Carlisle after a review of services in the North West.

But the trust has received formal notification that their appeal has not been upheld, meaning the three sites would be expected to serve Cumbria, Lancashire and parts of Greater Manchester and South West Scotland.

UHMBT chairman Sir David Henshaw said the decision was 'fundamentally flawed' and the trust could press for a judicial review.

"The trust is extremely disappointed with this outcome," he said.

"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 local strength of feeling in support of our appeal and would like to thank all of our staff, governors and stakeholders for their assistance.”

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has called on councillors from Cumbria and Lancashire, who will make the ultimate decision, to use their powers and pass the decision to be reviewed by the Department of Health.

Mr Farron said: "The plans to remove all vascular surgery from Morecambe Bay are extremely concerning.

"I am very worried about the risk this might pose to people across the south of Cumbria.

"The news that the trust’s legal bid was rejected is awful news for residents.

"I will now do everything I can to convince Cumbria's councillors to keep vascular services as local as possible and pass the decision to the Department of Health.

"We may sadly have lost this battle, but we will keep fighting until the war is won.”