Two-tier health service proposed

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A two tier Accident and Emergency system could be created as part of an overhaul of health services.

The NHS England review suggested the biggest 40 to 70 units – specialising in heart attacks, strokes and trauma - be called major emergency centres, leaving the remaining 70 to 100 A&Es – known as emergency centres - to deal with less serious conditions.

It is not yet clear which bracket the Royal Lancaster Infirmary could fall into. However, concern has been raised over the distance a patient would have to travel to receive emergency treatment.

The review also suggested changes to the way ambulance crews and the 111 phone service work to help relieve pressure on A&Es.

The RLI currently provides a 24 hour consultancy led service with resuscitation.

Juliet Walters, chief operating officer at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We provide an A&E service that meets the national requirements of a Type One A & E department.

“We have completed the successful upgrade to the emergency department at Royal Lancaster Infirmary with a £1.5m investment with a new minor injuries unit, upgraded emergency resuscitation facilities, and refurbished waiting area.

“As part of the Department of Health winter funding allocation we received £800,000 to assist with planning for the winter and we will ensure - working with our colleagues in the community and in primary care - that our patients continue to receive the right care within the four-hour standard.”