I have written about the possibilities of closing A&Es previously including my local A&E in Lancaster. My MP, David Morris became involved and despite the advice from the NHS Confederation that some A&Es should close David is convinced that there is no local threat. My gut feeling is that there will be no local closure but I have never ruled out the possibility. Earlier in the year we were reassured by the Trust's Chief Executive, Jackie Daniel that there would be no closure at Lancaster, but she couldn't "second guess the future".
Well this is the future and last week we read about where the Trust would make its cuts. They are looking to reduce the number of staff by 230 which includes 170 nurses. I didn't read about any reduction in the number of managers. There would also be a reduction in the number of hospital beds across the Trust including 40 at RLI. This is the point - if there are significant pressures on the A&E at Lancaster then part of that pressure will come from the number of hospital beds available. My gut may have to change its feeling.
The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (try saying that after a drink) covers a huge area. The main areas of population include Lancaster and Morecambe as well as Kendal and Barrow-in-Furness where there is another A&E. If pressures increase and the Trust decide to close one of their A&Es do they go for Barrow, which would mean a journey of over an hour for their residents to get to Lancaster, or do you close Lancaster where locals would get to travel 40 minutes to get to Preston? More people live in Lancaster and Morecambe which may swing the decision in favour of a Barrow closure.
Last week's report did not mention closure of any A&E, but I was speaking to someone this evening who went to Lancaster, waited for five hours and then was sent home! There is pressure. I wonder if we will get a repeat of the previous reassurances.
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