Trust denies claims that bay hospital is to close

Royal Lancaster Infirmary
Royal Lancaster Infirmary

Morecambe Bay health bosses have denied there are plans to close Westmorland General Hospital in order to invest more money in the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

It had been suggested that a £150m windfall was set for the RLI in addition to a downgrading or closure of the Kendal hospital as part of a major review of how services are delivered across North Lancashire and Cumbria.

And, although Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris said the Lancaster site was to receive that sum, the trust strenuously denied there were any plans to shut Westmorland General Hospital. The claim emerged after senior clinicians were briefed by Morecambe Bay University Hospitals Trust chief executive, Jackie Daniel this week.

Ms Daniel said: “We have no plans to close Westmorland General Hospital. The discussions we have had with our clinicians have explored a number of different ideas about how improving services for our patients might be achieved, not just in Kendal, but right across the Morecambe Bay area.

“It is a shame that an individual has focussed on one particular aspect and used it to cause needless worry. As to the future of Westmorland General Hospital, what is important is that the services provided are appropriate, safe and of a high quality – that must remain our priority for all of our hospitals. I would like to reiterate, we have not approved any plans to close any services at Westmorland General Hospital.

“Through the better care together process, local GPs, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Trust are working together to provide a long-term plan for healthcare across the Morecambe Bay area. We have said since we began this work two years ago that we would look at all options to ensure the healthcare systems are sustainable for future generations, clinically and financially.

She added any proposals for major changes to services would require consultation.