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Fury over Backing of Health Shake-up

The backing of a controversial shake-up of hospital services in east Lancashire by a council committee has resulted in fury among campaigners. //

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has proposed a plan, which also includes the downgrade of Burnley's A&E department that will now not be referred to the government. Following the overview and scrutiny by the council’s committee, the decision that they have taken has granted the trust the green light.

According to Burnley MP Kitty Ussher the decision is 'incomprehensible'.

The re-organisation has planned that all 999 severe injury and illness patients will be taken to Blackburn Royal Hospital.

Burnley General Hospital is expected to continue with an 'urgent care centre' catering for minor injuries and illnesses.

Although campaigners claimed lives could be put at risk, the scrutiny panel rejected calls for the plans to be sent to the Health Secretary.

Labor MP Ms Ussher said: 'We've had busloads of people going to London to meet the Secretary of State for Health to explain their concerns and then local councilors say there are no grounds to send it into national government to be reviewed.

'I've got national government sitting there saying, 'Well send it in and we'll look at it'. It seems completely incomprehensible as far as I'm concerned.'

Gordon Prentice, the Labor MP for Pendle, described being 'appalled and outraged' at the decision.

NHS authorities asserted that the new model would allow hospitals to develop a wide range of services closer to patients' homes.

However John Amos, of the trust's Patient and Public Involvement Forum, said he had reservations and still felt it should go to an independent review panel.

According to David Peat, Chief Executive of Burnley, Pendle and Rosendale Primary Care Trust, he was confident councilors had made the right decision.

He said, The re are no absolute guarantees in life but we are planning these services to improve them, not to make them worse.

'We'll be monitoring services to ensure the outcomes are improvements.'

In addition Burnley General Hospital will become the centre for gynecology, inpatient obstetrics and neonatal intensive care services.

Burnley General is proposed to become the centre for most planned inpatient services, while Blackburn will handle most emergency inpatient care.

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