THE Royal Lancaster Infirmary could be hit hard by planned cuts designed to tackle a £3million cash shortfall in the Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust.

Twelve dermatology beds and four gynaecology beds could be cut at the hospital.

And a review of orthopaedic and surgery beds could also lead to cuts - with job losses a possibility.

The suggestions are among measures likely as the hospitals trust seeks to balance the books before the end of the current financial year.

Twelve medicine beds and 19 surgical beds are earmarked for closure as part of the cash saving regime at Kendal's Westmorland General Hospital, while at Furness General Hospital in Barrow one cot and an intensive care bed could be cut and the trust is considering a temporary closure of six surgical beds.

A number of medicine beds are also earmarked for closure, while the out-patient fertility clinic could be held fortnightly instead of weekly.

The Trust insists that it is committed to keeping the RLI and Furness as district general hospitals while developing Westmorland as a 'centre for excellence'.

Further cuts could be made by the trust taking stricter control of overtime and leave, as well as slashing agency staffing.

Under the plans, management costs would also drop by around ten per cent over the next year and cuts in the radiology, pathology and estate management departments will be considered.

Reviews of long stay facilities, out-of-hours services at Westmorland General and the provision of maternity services at all three hospitals will be discussed in December.