Green councillors will fight to save the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI)

8 April 2021

Gina DowdingGreen councillors will fight to save our local hospital, and we will be sending out a strong message during the elections that we do not want a new super-hospital somewhere between Lancaster and Preston.

Greens are lucky to have the experience of County Councillor Gina Dowding (pictured), former NHS worker in public health, who has championed local health services for the last eight years as a member of Lancashire’s Health Scrutiny Committee. This committee will be the place where formal input from local councillors will take place as the plans develop.  

The background to the proposed changes is the Government announcement of funding for new hospitals last October. Our local NHS trusts started to develop local plans, including an option to close the RLI in favour of a new 'super-hospital' for Lancaster and Preston.  The 'New Hospitals programme’ is hoping to get funding in the second tranche of the Government’s initiative i.e. the 2025–2030 phase.

At the March meeting of the Lancashire Health Scrutiny Committee, Gina said: 'The Trustees should rule out any super-hospital to replace the RLI.’  Our local NHS has done a wonderful job in responding to the pandemic. We must keep services local.

There will be public consultation as the new hospitals programme develops. See the new website for the Lancashire & South Cumbria hospitals programme. 

Gina added: 'I was told all options must be kept open at this stage, and there are likely to be four options. During the first stage, clinicians and medics will be putting together the business case, and only later will the public be consulted.  It was quite alarming to see this statement in the report presented to the committee: The Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary are no longer fit for current or future purpose, and they are now past the stage where we can continue to refurbish. This will require new facilities to be built.’

The new website  will have more information about the proposals and currently asks people to 'check back for updates'. Gina has requested that the public be able to subscribe for email updates. So far the programme director has reported that the 'functionality of the website is being built "as we speak!"', and that someone will look into this.

If anyone wants more details about the discussion see here: Browse meetings - Health Scrutiny Committee (

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