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Local MP to health bosses: "Rip it up and start again"

June 17, 2008 3:00 PM

Local MP Tim Farron is piling the pressure on to local health bosses to end their threat to close Westmorland General Hospital's heart unit in the light of new information.

Tim Farron has written to the chief executives of the two local health trusts - Cumbria Primary Care Trust and the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust - asking them to scrap plans for closure and to go back to the drawing board. Tim, who has been a long term opponent of the cuts, has cited new information which he says makes the decision to close the wards 'past its sell by date'.

Since the decision to close the emergency wards at Kendal was taken in September in 2006, new information has come to light showing that:

The population in South Lakeland is ageing rapidly with a projected 25-fold increase, for example, in the number of centenarians in South Lakeland. Older people are bound to have a disproportionate need for emergency medical services.

The Local Development Framework for the local authorities is based on an increase in population of at least 20,000 people over the next two decades. This will add significant permanent new demand for emergency and other health services.

Projections show that increased demand for holidays in the UK will lead to a significant growth in the number of tourists visiting South Lakeland, which means a correlating increase in the number of tourists who need to make use of local health services.

"With new information which shows that we have a population that is both increasing in number and in age, it is ridiculous to consider removing vital medical emergency services from our hospital. The decision to close our heart unit was wrong, but it was also based on information which is now out of date. The plans for closure at Westmorland General are now well past their sell-by date and so the NHS trusts owe it to themselves and to the thousands of people they serve to scrap their plans and to return to the drawing board."