Come clean call over hospital closures

Wesham Hospital
Wesham Hospital
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HEALTH bosses were today told to “come clean” after it was revealed four Fylde coast community hospitals were under threat of closure.

The shock proposals were revealed as cash-strapped local health trusts look to slash £129m by 2015.

Wesham Rehabilitation Hospital was moth-balled earlier this year and there have been closure rumours about Fleetwood and Clifton hospitals in recent months.

But health chiefs from NHS Blackpool, NHS North Lancashire, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Lancashire Care Trust are remaining tight lipped about where the axe will fall.

In a joint statement, they say a full public consultation detailing proposals will be held later in the summer.

MPs and community groups – who have long raised concerns about the future of local hospitals – say that is not good enough.

John Isley, secretary of Fleetwood Senior Citizens club spoke of his concern. He said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Fleetwood Hospital closed but it would be sad, I know a new centre is being built on Dock Street.

“Planned closures should be communicated early so elderly people can plan.

“Fleetwood patients now travel to Blackpool for operations and this takes an hour on a bus.”

Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, added: “It’s important trust authorities put an end to any speculation in the interests of local residents.

“Delays cause disquiet to staff and residents and will not help the consultation.”

The shock closure plans were revealed in NHS Blackpool board papers which said: “A public consultation is now being planned which will result in a significantly reduced estate – possible closure of four hospitals -–and other changes to service provision.”

But news of the potential closures has sent shockwaves across community groups.