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Farron presses Minister to force local health bosses to keep their promises on ambulance staffing

December 11, 2007 3:00 PM

Local MP Tim Farron has written to the Department of Health today seeking clarification on the upgrades of ambulances in South Lakeland in line with the promise given by Cumbria Primary Care Trust. Mr Farron has written in light of the announcement today that the Department would be recommending an increase in the use of 'solo-responders', ambulances with only one crew member in order to meet response-time targets.

During a Westminster Hall debate secured by Mr Farron in October, the Health Minister Anne Keen claimed that upgrades to ambulances had already taken place and that the conditions required to permit downgrading acute medical services at Westmorland General Hospital had been met. Mr Farron has asked the Minister for a meeting to clarify these points.

Tim Farron said:

"I am extremely worried by these proposals for more 'solo-responders', we ought to be looking at increasing the number of paramedics on ambulances not reducing them. I fail to see how this can result in an increase in patient care.

"I was promised some time ago that before acute services Westmorland General Hospital could be downgraded the Ambulance Service would increase the number of paramedics, now they are apparently going in completely the other direction. Either an exception will have to be made for our area or local health bosses will have broken their promise. If it's the latter, then the planned closure of the heart unit at Kendal must be called off. "