Lib Dems say, “Save the RLI!” as they submit petition to Health Secretary


Liberal Democrat Campaigner and Candidate for Lancaster South East, Jake Perkins has sent a petition with over 770 signatures to Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP urging him to take off the table the proposals to merge Lancaster and Preston’s hospitals onto a single site ‘super hospital’ in Garstang.

Liberal Democrat Campaigner and Candidate for Lancaster South East, Jake Perkins has sent a petition with over 770 signatures to Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP urging him to take off the table the proposals to merge Lancaster and Preston’s hospitals onto a single site ‘super hospital’ in Garstang.

Jake Perkins and the Lancaster and Morecambe Lib Dems launched the campaign to save the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) back in October 2020 after it was announced that the Government was considering merging services on to a single site ‘super hospital’ in Garstang. The proposals suggested closing Royal Preston and RLI and merging them onto a single site, but the future of the RLI remains unclear. There are serious concerns about how people who rely on public transport will be able to access a ‘super hospital’. Garstang has no rail station nor motorway junction and a return bus ticket from Lancaster to Garstang is £6.70 and the journey takes 40 minutes.

This leads to more patients taking longer car journeys for their appointments, which leads to more traffic along the A6 down through the city and Galgate all the way to the ‘super hospital’ in Garstang. This will negatively impact the local environment with greater congestion leading to worsening air quality. The loss of the RLI could have devastating consequences for the local economy as jobs leave Lancaster to be relocated to the new site. Reduced footfall to the hospital so close to the town centre will surely negatively impact the local economy.

The proposals were announced in October 2020 as a part of a consultation by the Department of Health and Social Care for its Health Infrastructure Programme. The Lancaster and Morecambe Liberal Democrats strongly welcome investment in our local services but echo residents’ concerns that investment should not come at the cost of losing a hospital at the core of the community.  

Jake said, “I have urged the Health Secretary to take the single hospital proposal out of the current consultation, as it is clear that local people do not want to see our local hospital closed and to do so would seriously harm the residents of Lancaster and South Cumbria. The Government looks like it plans to build 40 hospitals with one hand and the shut 80 with the other.”

“Many residents have told me and my colleagues how vital the Royal Lancaster Infirmary is to our community. A ‘super hospital’ near Garstang might look good on paper, but it will cost a lot of money and just add yet more time to journeys in an emergency. The loss of the Royal Lancaster Infirmary will have a massive negative impact on patients, staff, local communities, the local economy, and the environment. The impact will go far beyond Lancaster.”

“I’m looking forward to hearing from the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, as to whether the Government is going to drop this misconceived proposal from the consultation.”


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