MP hospital talks appeal

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FYLDE’S MP says a consultation process on the future of Wesham Hospital should take place as soon as possible.

Campaigners against the proposed closure of the hospital celebrated a lifeline last month after Lancashire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee voted to pass the matter on to Westminster after the shock decision to close the facility – a 40-bed rehabilitation unit on Mowbreck Lane – was taken as part of a £6m savings review by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust.

The trust announced the hospital would be closing in January, and all patients were moved to Clifton Hospital in St Annes.

Fylde Conservative Mark Menzies MP said: “Having now met with staff, the hospital’s trust management, patients and friends groups I feel I have a reasonably good picture of what has happened.

“It is very clear that a consultation, which staff believe should have taken place before the move to Clifton Hospital, needs to be held as soon as possible.

“My understanding is the trust board are doing their best to make this happen as soon as possible.

“However, under the regulations they are not able to carry out a consultation – this has to be done by the PCT’s.

“I would urge them to get a consultation underway as soon as possible.”

Fylde Coun Liz Oades, who is also a county councillor, has been leading the objections and brought the matter to the committee’s attention.

She was delighted with the decision of the Health Scrutiny Committee, who also decided to set up a working group consisting of members of the Lancashire and Blackpool Health Scrutiny bodies.

“The reference to the Secretary of State was exactly what we were looking for and hopefully now there will be some proper consultation on this important matter,” said Coun Oades.

The trust’s chief executive, Adrian Kehoe, said: “The level of savings the NHS is required to deliver over the next three to four years is unprecedented.

“However, we are committed to providing the highest quality services to our patients and we will be doing everything possible to reduce costs whilst protecting frontline services.”

“What we’re trying to do is use of space that we have got empty at Clifton Hospital so the bulk of the services will be transferred to Clifton to make sure we’re making maximum use of space.

“It doesn’t make sense to have empty space in hospitals.”