'Premature speculation': Health bosses deny Lancaster A&E to shut and shift to Kendal's Westmorland General Hospital

HEALTH officials have today dismissed reports that ‘advanced plans’ already exist to shut Lancaster’s A&E and intensive care unit (ICU) and move them to Kendal’s Westmorland General Hospital.

Commenting on recent reports that Lancaster’s A&E is doomed to closure and serious emergency cases will shift to Kendal along with the city's intensive care unit, a spokeswoman for UHMBT stressed no such plans yet exist and no decisions have been made.

They explained a 'whole range of possibilities' are currently being discussed. But they said these would be developed into formal proposals and unveiled this spring, followed by thorough consulation taking place in the summer into autumn.

It follows a root-and-branch review which is currently being under taken across the health estate run by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust (UHMBT).

Starting last autumn, it is looking at the provision of services and where they might be based in future.

Lakes MP Tim Farron has already dubbed the review a genuine opportunity to bring acute A&E services to Kendal and is campaigning to do so. He has already written to dozens of local doctors to win support for the idea.

The ongoing review is part of the groundwork being under taken to pave the way for the arrival of new Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCP).

The panels of GPs take control of deciding how and where local health services should be delivered from April.

These including planning and purchasing, and is part of Government policy which Whitehall says aims to put 'family doctors as opposed to NHS managers' in charge.

They are assuming responsibility from long-standing NHS primary care trusts which received their budget direct from the Department of Health and decided what to spend it on.

The CCPs must address a shortfall in funding so changes are said to be inevitable, although what these are has not yet been ascertained.

A spokeswoman for UHMBT said any proposals would firstly be subject to thorough consulation with a range of bodies, MPs and patients.

Only last week, UHMBT released details of its intended public consultation arrangements, saying: “During this formal public consultation, the public and stakeholders willl again be asked to consider which possible options for changing the way health services work across Morecambe Bay, they prefer.”

“The demands upon the NHS both nationally and locally are changing and the plan to look at health services across the area is a response to these growing needs.”

She said medical staff are participating in discussions centred on the review and talking with representatives of both Cumbria CCG and North Lancashire CCG, which will commission services across the Bay area, including the hospitals Kendal, Barrow and Lancaster.

The spokeswoman added: “The CCG’s are working with our doctors and nurses and a huge list of options will be created of how things could look. That could involve major changes but we have yet to see. Things will certainly not stay as they are as there is less money in the system.”

Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive, UHMBFT based at WGH, said: “Let’s be clear, despite what has been reported no decisions about how services may change or be developed have been made, but 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.”

Comments (11)

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5:23pm Mon 21 Jan 13

jazzactivist says...

Well, if Lancaster A&E closes and the service is moved to kendal that wn't be any use to people at all. It will just be switching the problem of people across Cumbria having to travel a long distance to A&E in Lancaster to people in North Lancashire having to travel a long distance to A&E in Kendal! We need both A&Es to be open, as they serve different geographical areas. If there is an issue about it perhaps both could provide general A&E services with each providing specialist care beyond that for different types of emergency.
Well, if Lancaster A&E closes and the service is moved to kendal that wn't be any use to people at all. It will just be switching the problem of people across Cumbria having to travel a long distance to A&E in Lancaster to people in North Lancashire having to travel a long distance to A&E in Kendal! We need both A&Es to be open, as they serve different geographical areas. If there is an issue about it perhaps both could provide general A&E services with each providing specialist care beyond that for different types of emergency. jazzactivist
  • Score: 0

5:39pm Mon 21 Jan 13

craggy says...

If no such plans exist, who is it that is speculating? Oh hang on, Saint Tim enters, stage left.
If no such plans exist, who is it that is speculating? Oh hang on, Saint Tim enters, stage left. craggy
  • Score: 0

7:22pm Mon 21 Jan 13

worldsgonemad says...

I can see that they are looking at all options but would it really be viable? Where would they put these things and what about parking? There simply isn't the space at WGH and what we need is proper facilities at BOTH hospitals to cover such a large area.
I can see that they are looking at all options but would it really be viable? Where would they put these things and what about parking? There simply isn't the space at WGH and what we need is proper facilities at BOTH hospitals to cover such a large area. worldsgonemad
  • Score: 0

9:38pm Mon 21 Jan 13

wezzyk says...

Re: craggy... Story was on front page of Lancaster Guardian last week but don't think there was any mention of Tim. And Tim can speculate to bring A&E back to Kendal and Lancaster can fight to save their own service. Both areas deserve and have a right to A&E services.
Re: craggy... Story was on front page of Lancaster Guardian last week but don't think there was any mention of Tim. And Tim can speculate to bring A&E back to Kendal and Lancaster can fight to save their own service. Both areas deserve and have a right to A&E services. wezzyk
  • Score: 0

11:41pm Mon 21 Jan 13

snuggle-bunny says...

ok_ we believe you- not
ok_ we believe you- not snuggle-bunny
  • Score: 0

12:29pm Tue 22 Jan 13

WilliamT says...

You may think that this was just a 'Crying Wolf' leak to the tame Lancaster Guardian (never reports any anti-UHMB stories), in order to stir up a 'save our A&E' story for RLI A&E that recently got such a pasting from the regulators. However, I have my doubts that even UHMB management would be that barmy- this story will just put off people applying for jobs at RLI, because it would be turned into a cottage hospital without A&E and intensive care. So I think the management is telling the truth for once- there really isn't a plan to remove A&E- it would be the death of the hospital.
However, RLI A&E could be downgraded, with all the serious stuff going down to Preston, which has better motorway links- that process began years ago and the scandals at UHMB haven't helped. That was also part of the reason for the removal of vascular surgery. Coming from Barrow and Kendal, you might be quicker going into Preston.
My guess is the only way proper A&E would come to WGH, would be after dismembering UHMB and FGH/ WGH joining the Cumbria/ Northumbria Mega-Trust.
You may think that this was just a 'Crying Wolf' leak to the tame Lancaster Guardian (never reports any anti-UHMB stories), in order to stir up a 'save our A&E' story for RLI A&E that recently got such a pasting from the regulators. However, I have my doubts that even UHMB management would be that barmy- this story will just put off people applying for jobs at RLI, because it would be turned into a cottage hospital without A&E and intensive care. So I think the management is telling the truth for once- there really isn't a plan to remove A&E- it would be the death of the hospital. However, RLI A&E could be downgraded, with all the serious stuff going down to Preston, which has better motorway links- that process began years ago and the scandals at UHMB haven't helped. That was also part of the reason for the removal of vascular surgery. Coming from Barrow and Kendal, you might be quicker going into Preston. My guess is the only way proper A&E would come to WGH, would be after dismembering UHMB and FGH/ WGH joining the Cumbria/ Northumbria Mega-Trust. WilliamT
  • Score: 0

3:58pm Tue 22 Jan 13

minkebill says...

Facilities at RLI have just been improved so I think it would be madness if this were even being considered (but who knows in the current climate). As a user of RLI I'll be disappointed if Tim jumps on the band wagon here to rally support for his campaign at the expense of RLI. I do think that WGH should have some form of A&E of its own though.
Facilities at RLI have just been improved so I think it would be madness if this were even being considered (but who knows in the current climate). As a user of RLI I'll be disappointed if Tim jumps on the band wagon here to rally support for his campaign at the expense of RLI. I do think that WGH should have some form of A&E of its own though. minkebill
  • Score: 0

10:17pm Tue 22 Jan 13

snuggle-bunny says...

no smoke without fire
no smoke without fire snuggle-bunny
  • Score: 0

12:59pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Lava says...

i met up with someone who work at Furness General yesterday.

She informed me that there are talks of making the A&E Dept a ''wound dressing clinic'' and A&E cases will dealt with elsewhere, furthermore, there'a talk that the SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) will be in one place in the North West - MANCHESTER!

Very Scary, I just hope that there are enough helicopters to transport the sick miles and miles in an emergency!
i met up with someone who work at Furness General yesterday. She informed me that there are talks of making the A&E Dept a ''wound dressing clinic'' and A&E cases will dealt with elsewhere, furthermore, there'a talk that the SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) will be in one place in the North West - MANCHESTER! Very Scary, I just hope that there are enough helicopters to transport the sick miles and miles in an emergency! Lava
  • Score: 0

8:04pm Thu 24 Jan 13

pixie55 says...

Lava. You are so right. People in Barrow are being told that plans have been made to shut A & E at FGH in Barrow along with a whole load of other services. Barrow is going to be a cottage hospital with everything going to Lancaster and Kendaldespite these 2 hospitals bringing Morecambe Bay down and ruining FGH. Where are they building the helipad or runway for everybody in Barrow and surrounding area. They will need Boeing 787's It has all been arranged and the public will be the last to know. Don't trust any of them.
Lava. You are so right. People in Barrow are being told that plans have been made to shut A & E at FGH in Barrow along with a whole load of other services. Barrow is going to be a cottage hospital with everything going to Lancaster and Kendaldespite these 2 hospitals bringing Morecambe Bay down and ruining FGH. Where are they building the helipad or runway for everybody in Barrow and surrounding area. They will need Boeing 787's It has all been arranged and the public will be the last to know. Don't trust any of them. pixie55
  • Score: 0

12:02pm Fri 25 Jan 13

WilliamT says...

To be fair, I think it is FGH and RLI which ruined WGH, in the sense that WGH wasn't criticised anything like as much in all the reports and interventions.
To be fair, I think it is FGH and RLI which ruined WGH, in the sense that WGH wasn't criticised anything like as much in all the reports and interventions. WilliamT
  • Score: 0

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