BURNLEY’S new MP has written to the newly-appointed Health Secretary demanding a meeting to discuss the future of the town’s hospital.

Within one hour of Andrew Lansley being named as the new Health Secretary, Gordon Birtwistle said he had written a letter to the Conservative MP.

In the letter, Mr Birtwistle makes reference to Mr Lansley’s recent visit to the town when he says he expressed an intention to reinstate the full A&E department at Burnley General Hospital and postpone the transfer of the children’s ward to Blackburn.

The newly-elected Liberal Democrat MP is now urging him to instruct East Lancashire’s hospital bosses to implement those actions.

Speaking yesterday he said: “The new Health Secretary was only appointed an hour ago and I’m already writing a letter to him, reminding him of his visit to Burnley and of what he said.

"That the Conservatives would initially not move the children’s ward, and bring back the A&E.

“I am asking for an appointment with him to discuss his plans.”

Burnley’s A&E department was closed in 2007 with its blue light services being transferred to Royal Blackburn Hospital.

In his former capacity as Burnley Council leader, Mr Birtwistle campaigned for the reinstatement of the services.

Peter Pike, a former Burnley MP, said the newly-formed Conservative and Liberal Democrat Government should make the issue a priority.

He said “They both made their commitments quite clear – that the A&E should not have been closed.

“Now they have the power to deliver, that’s what they should do.”

Yesterday a spokesman for Mr Lansley said his intentions remained the same as those expressed publicly earlier this year – to consult local GPs over which services should be returned to Burnley General Hospital.

Jake Berry, Rossendale’s new Conservative MP, said: “We hope to be able to bring forward the review of A&E coverage at Burnley General Hospital and pledge a feasibility study to see if it’s possible to re-open the department.”