New Care Bill controversy

David Morris, Morecambe and Lunesdale MP.
David Morris, Morecambe and Lunesdale MP.

Morecambe’s MP has defended controversial new measures giving the government powers to close local hospitals.

Mr Morris and Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, voted in favour of “clause 119”, which gives the health secretary the power to close or downgrade a hospital if a neighbouring trust is struggling financially.

Powers will allow the government to remove hospital trust boards if they are underperforming.

Amina Lone, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Morecambe and Lunesdale, said 32 communities, including that covered by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (UHMBT), were at risk of being made voiceless by the new measure.

Ms Lone said: “Changes to hospitals should be driven by clinical, not financial, reasons with local people involved every step of the way.

“That is why we believe these plans are dangerous and wrong.”

But Mr Morris said: “I worked on this Bill because of the problems with healthcare we have seen in the Lancaster and Morecambe area.

“A lot of the things that went into the Care Bill came from lessons learned locally here in the district and this is helping shape how things work nationally.”