HEALTH bosses have said there are no plans 'what so ever' to close Halton Haven Hospice.

Halton MP Derek Twigg and Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury had raised 'serious concerns' that a proposed merger of Halton and Warrington Clinical Commissioning Groups would put the hospice at risk.

But in a statement this afternoon, Halton Clinical Commissioning Group said it remained "committed to ensuring that local people continue to receive the best possible services" and "there are no plans what so ever" to close Halton Haven.

In a joint letter to Dr Andrew Davies, chief officer of Halton Clinical Commissioning Group, MPs Derek Twigg and Mike Amesbury had written: "We view your proposal of merger as actually a takeover of Warrington CCG of Halton CCG and believe it would be detrimental to the people of Halton.

"Amongst our many concerns is the future of Halton Haven Hospice.

"The hospice is very important to the people of Halton.

"It cares for people living with life-limiting illness by providing safe, specialist end-of-life care and supporting their families.

"We strongly believe that a takeover of Halton CCG by Warrington could put Halton's only hospice at risk as Warrington CCG could choose to commission Warrington's hospice for both Warrington and Halton people.

"It would be completely unacceptable for Halton people, some nearing the end of their life, to be shunted off to Warrington.

"We seek your written assurances that Halton Haven Hospice will not be side-lined in favour of any other hospice outside of Halton under any circumstances and that it will be adequately funded to continue their valued service to the people of Halton.

"Our constituents with life-limiting illness and those nearing the end of their life must be treated with the dignity that they deserve.

"They must not be sent out of the area if it is against their wishes."

Mr Twigg, who visited the hospice on Friday, added: "I fear for the future of Halton Haven should Halton CCG be taken over by Warrington.

"Our hospice is funded through the generosity of local people and also through being commissioned by Halton CCG to provide care to Halton people.

"It must be protected for Halton people.

In response, Halton Clinical Commissioning Group said: "We can confirm that we have received the letter from the MPs and will provide a formal response to the MPs as requested.

"However, we would like to reassure local people that the proposed changes do not affect any patient facing services.

"There are no plans what so ever to close Halton Haven Hospice or any other service as a result of any of the proposed changes.

"NHS Halton CCG provides a substantial level of funding to Halton Haven Hospice, significantly above the amount that is provided to similar organisations in other areas in addition to the management support from CCG key officers.

"We remain to be committed to ensuring that local people continue to receive the best possible services."