GORDON Brown has pledged to arrange a meeting between Gordon Prentice and the Health Secretary after the Pendle MP quizzed the Prime Minister on the decision to close Burnley A&E.

Mr Prentice is campaigning for an independent investigation into the 2007 move to shut Burnley’s emergency department and use only Blackburn to serve East Lancashire’s 500,000 people.

And during Prime Minister’s Questions at the House of Commons yesterday the Labour backbencher asked the PM to commission a new inquiry.

Amid cries of ‘Shame, shame’ from other MPs, Mr Prentice said: “Two years ago we lost blue-light accident and emergency in Burnley and everything went to Blackburn, 25 miles away from where I live at the furthest edge of the patch.

“People in Burnley and Pendle want an accident and emergency back in Burnley.

“I ask my friend this: as a first step would he commission an independent review by clinicians from outside the area with no axe to grind? That is what people want.”

Jeers could be heard as the Prime Minister responded that he “understood” Mr Prentice's concerns and would ask the health secretary Andy Burnham to meet with him to talk about the issue.

The PM said: “The reconfiguration of NHS services is a matter for the NHS locally.

“I understand the review concluded in July and it has been accepted by both primary care trusts and at the same time East Lancashire Hospitals Trust and I understand there is a programme implementation board that is in place and the board is confident that they will not undermine services locally.

“But he will want to have that meeting with the health secretary (Andy Burnham) and he can come back to me afterwards.”

Mr Prentice said he was pleased with the PM’s response but said that the Government was still ‘in denial’.

He said: “Short of saying ‘yes, you can have an independent review’ I suppose it is the next best thing to sit down with the health secretary.”

Lynn Wissett, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust’s deputy chief executive, said its A&E decision was carried out on ‘the best possible clinical evidence, and highlighted a number of successes.

She said: “We acknowledge that there have been some patients who have had a longer wait than we would wish in the emergency department in the past.

"The trust has taken positive action to resolve these issues.”