Today I met with representatives from the Trust, including Keith Dibble, Deputy Network Director. This is a brief overview.
We focused mainly on the legality of the closure and how the closure of male beds for financial reasons had caused an unmanageable demand that resulted in the loss of 11 female beds across the county, 8 of which were at The Orchard in Lancaster.
We believe that the women of North Lancashire are the victims of cost cutting measures that artificially caused a shortage of male inpatient beds and we will not be moved from that position.
Both sides have taken legal advice. The Trust has been advised that it has acted legally. The campaign has been advised that this is indirect sexual discrimination and is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.
We have not seen any documentation regarding the due regard to the Equality Act that the Trust should have undertaken with regards to the closure. We asked that it be supplied to us by the end of today as if it exists, it should be readily available.
We have not received any such documentation.
We have advised that the campaign will continue. A full report of the meeting will be posted to the blog tomorrow.