West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper continues to raise serious concerns with the NHS and the Secretary of State for Health, after discovering that on 3 separate occasions, neighbouring Health authorities have taken unilateral decisions to stop West Lancashire residents from accessing certain NHS health services.
The NHS has recently been reorganised into Integrated Care Systems (ICS), with West Lancashire being part of Lancashire & South Cumbria ICS. Since the introduction of this plan, MP Rosie has repeatedly sought assurances from the Government and NHS that her West Lancashire residents will have a voice in decision making of the neighbouring ICSs, where the majority of acute health services are based.
Unfortunately, this has not been resolved. Soon after forming, the neighbouring NHS Integrated Care System in Cheshire and Merseyside made the decision to stop accepting routine dermatology referrals of West Lancashire patients, even though this is commissioned and paid for. This meant patients not having any reasonably local service at all and would have been referred to hospitals much further away. After raising this with the Secretary of State during Parliamentary Health Questions and also with both Lancashire & South Cumbria ICS and Cheshire & Merseyside ICS, the dermatology pathway has reopened.
This was just the start, as Rosie has now been told that Sleep services, provided by Liverpool University Hospitals and Rheumatology services provided by Wrightington Wigan and Leigh Hospitals will no longer be available to West Lancashire patients.
Rosie Cooper MP said:
“I am absolutely outraged by these thoughtless, protectionist decisions. I have been warning of this for months, on the floor of the House of Commons, at Parliamentary Health Select Committee and in meetings with Ministers and the NHS. Sadly, these warnings have been ignored.
“My constituents rely heavily on acute services provided from within either Cheshire & Merseyside or Greater Manchester ICSs, and they desperately need to be able to have a voice and representation in those ICSs decision making. It is simply unbelievable that they can just decide not to treat West Lancashire residents without considering their needs or being accountable to them.
“Dermatology, Rheumatology and Sleep services are just the canary down the mine. Without a voice in the decision making, it won’t be long before these protectionist ICS kingdoms block off all pathways to care to my constituents. This will be an absolute disaster if it is allowed to continue.
“West Lancashire has much stronger geographical and transport connections to Merseyside than the rest of Lancashire. Even our two hospitals, Ormskirk and Wrightington, are part of larger Trusts that are governed by these neighbouring regions. We cannot risk losing any more vital services.
“This needs to be addressed immediately and we need to be able to have a clear voice in any decisions that are made about the health care of West Lancashire residents. Let them make a start, by asking our opinion and giving us a vote in any decision making that affects anyone in West Lancashire.”