Rally against hospital cuts

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More than 1,700 people have signed a petition opposing any reduction in health services at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Labour Party members from Lancaster and Morecambe have launched a campaign to protect the A&E department and other services at the hospital.

The Lancaster Guardian reported two weeks ago that options forming part of a major review of hospital services across the Morecambe bay area included the Emergency Department at the RLI being replaced by a GP-led minor injuries clinic, the closure of intensive care, a reduction in maternity services, and a reduction in surgical procedures.

So far, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust has not denied that these options are on the table, but has refuted claims that plans are “well advanced”.

In a joint statement, Colin Hartley, Richard Newman-Thompson, Chris Henig and Stuart Langhorn, Labour’s respective Lancashire County Council candidates for the Lancaster Central, Lancaster East, Lancaster South East and Lancaster Rural East seats, said: “The loss of vital services from Lancaster like A&E and a maternity unit is unthinkable.

“Judging by residents’ reaction to our campaign they are just as angry as we are at the possibility of losing these services and I would therefore urge them to join us in fighting any such proposals tooth and nail.

“They can do so by signing one of the paper petitions or the online petition launched by our members, and by writing to the trust when it consults on its plans in the coming months.”

An e-petition has so far garnered more than 1,700 signatures.