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UHMBT appeals vascular services switch

 University Hospitals of Morecombe Bay NHS Trust (UHMBT) has lodged an official appeal against proposals to move specialist vascular services away from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI).

The NHS Lancashire and NHS Cumbria boards have backed proposals to create one clinical network across the two regions supported by three specialist vascular intervention facilities.

These have been recommended at the Royal Blackburn and Royal Preston hospitals, with another at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.

But Eric Morton, interim Chief Executive for UHMBT, said its unit has “evolved” over the 40 years it has been open and “we want this to continue”.

Under the proposals, routine and planned vascular treatment would be provided for patients at local hospitals, as well as all outpatient and day case surgery.

But all specialist inpatient care would be moved to one of the new facilities before patients are discharged or transferred to their local hospital for rehabilitation.

“It is well-recognised by vascular experts that, where such services treat high numbers of patients, the services are safer and the resulting clinical outcomes for patients are better,” said Dr Jim Gardner, Medical Director for NHS Lancashire.

“There is considerable evidence and professional backing to support the creation of the vascular network, and the three specialist vascular intervention centres. We know that the creation of these centres will result in more effective and safer services, and most importantly better patient outcomes.”

A final decision on the proposals will be made by the North of England NHS Specialist Commissioning Board and the NHS Commissioning Board later this year.

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