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April 1, 2009 11:04 AM

Speaking today in a debate on the Government's Dementia Strategy, MP Tim Farron called for a new ward to be opened at Westmorland General Hospital that would provide expert care for patients who have dementia.

The medical wards at Westmorland General Hospital are often congested with patients being transferred at short notice to Penrith to make room for others who are being moved with little warning from Lancaster to Westmorland General.

Mr Farron is in regular contact with staff, patients and patients' relatives and it is clear that up to half of the patients on the medical wards-referred to now as the Langdale Unit-have dementia.

Nursing staff on the Langdale unit are highly skilled, specialist nurses who are warm, caring and sensitive. However, they are not dementia specialists. The presence of such a high number of patients with dementia means that the staff aren't able to give them the care that they would want to however, this also means they are unable to provide care to non-dementia patients as a result of having their time taken up by patients with dementia.

Tim Farron said

"There are at least two mothballed wards at Westmorland General - now is the time to use at least one of them to provide care for patients with dementia and to increase the bed capacity at our hospital.

"People with dementia as well as their families, have the right to expect access to services that help them carry on with their lives. They do not deserve to be ignored and dismissed.

"It is wrong that the number of beds at our hospital has been reduced, and it is wrong that some of our most vulnerable citizens are being pushed around from pillar to post. The Hospital Trust could take action to solve this and they must do so."