When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Burnley bodies may be sent to Blackburn
A ROW has broken out after health bosses proposed sending the bodies of people who die at Burnley General to Blackburn for post mortem examinations.
And a worker at Burnley's mortuary has said that it was absolutely disgusting' that people could be "carted around the county" if the town's facility was closed.
Burnley council leader Gordon Birtwistle said the proposal was "another slap in the face for the people of Burnley" which would cause distress for relatives.
Concerns have also been raised over why the post mortem examination facility at Burnley General Hospital was being put forward for closure when £250,000 had been spent upgrading it just four years ago.
The move is part of plans to radically re-shape hospital services in East Lancashire that will also see Burnley lose blue-light A&E and overnight children's care.
About 540 post mortem examinations are carried out at Burnley General each year, a spokesman said.
Three pathologists, who carry out post mortems, are based at the mortuary, in the pathology block opposite Ebor Street.
Bosses are looking at whether to move the service to Royal Blackburn Hospital.
It would be merged into the Royal Blackburn's team.
A hospital spokesman said bodies would still be stored on the Burnley site and relatives would not have to travel to Blackburn if they wanted to view a body.
Arrangements would be made for viewings at Burnley, he said.
But Coun Birtwistle said: "They don't want to look after you in Burnley when you're alive and they don't want to look after you when you're dead.
"It is yet another removal of services for Burnley people from their hospital.
"I don't want to be carted off to Blackburn then back to Burnley again.
"There has to be some dignity in death. It is another slap in the face for the people of Burnley."
A worker at the mortuary, who did not want to be named, said: "I think it is absolutely disgusting.
"It is a waste of taxpayers' money after the refurbishment and it is going to be an inconvenience for the staff.
"If people knew their deceased relatives were being carted around the county then I don't think they would be very happy.
"The morale within the NHS is pretty poor and even more so at Burnley because the hospital is having to give in to Blackburn."
The facility was upgraded with £250,000 from Lancashire County Council in 2003 as mortuaries were closed in Rawtenstall and Nelson.
The county council pays for coroners services which is run by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.
County councillor Tony Martin, cabinet member for sustainable development and Burnley Central West representative for the authority, said that he was hopeful some of the equipment bought with the county council's money four years ago could be moved to Blackburn.
He said: "I understand services change all the time. It's one of those things and people get used to having a local service.
"Presumably the building will be available for something else."
Jeff Cottam, pathology service manager at the trust, said "full discussion" would be taken with the "relevant parties" before a decision was made.
He said "There are currently many estate issues being considered as part of the Meeting Patients' Needs implementation, in particular where key services should sit on the Burnley site to allow the delivery of service model A.
"However, as yet the estate strategy has not been defined and I would again emphasise there has been no agreement to re-site the existing mortuary accommodation.
"There has been some recent investment in the mortuary facilities on the Burnley General Hospital site and this will be taken into account. "