A FRESH deal has been signed to ensure a well-used aftercare service for hospital patients in East Lancashire continues for a further year.

Lancashire County Council and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group are currently partway through a two-year agreement, provided by Age UK Lancashire, covering the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General Hospitals.

But as there is a standard 12-month notice provision in NHS contracts, the CCG has asked the county council for a guarantee that the service, which helps with mobility and isolation issues, will be recommissioned for 2015-16.

County Coun Tony Martin has now approved a year-long extension, bringing the contract up to the end of March 2016.

He was told that between October and December last year alone, nearly 200 people benefited from the service - and only two per cent had to be returned to hospital. The service regularly receives praise from users, and their families. Further referrrals were made to other services like reablement and therapy, falls teams, memory clinics, for medication reviews, and housing support .