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MP gets ready to walk through the night to bring cancer service to Kendal

September 28, 2009 5:51 PM

Local MP Tim Farron is preparing for his 'long march' from the Rosemere cancer unit at the Royal Preston Hospital to Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal as part of his campaign which supports bringing cancer treatment services to the South Lakes.

Tim will visit the Rosemere unit at Preston on Friday morning, before setting off on his walk through the night to highlight the long distances that cancer patients currently have to travel for treatment. He is scheduled to arrive at Kirkbie Kendal School playing fields at 10am on Saturday, where he will join local residents who are being encouraged to join him on the final leg of his walk to Westmorland General Hospital.

Around 8,000 have signed Tim's petition supporting bringing cancer treatment services to the South Lakes, and this petition will be handed over to a representative from the Cumbria and Lancashire NHS Collaborative Commissioning Board, who would be among those responsible for commissioning the new service.

Saturday's demonstration, and Tim's campaigning on this issue, comes after the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust drew up a business case to bring radiotherapy services and potentially day case chemotherapy to its hospital in Kendal. The decision where to site the services rests with the Cumbria and Lancashire NHS Collaborative Commissioning Board.

The Trust drew up the business case to reduce the travelling time for patients in south Cumbria, including Barrow, who currently face a 90 minute journey for radiotherapy treatment in Preston.

Kendal's proposed new unit would house linear accelerators (which deliver radiotherapy) similar to that currently provided at the Rosemere unit.

Speaking this morning, Tim said: "The point of the walk is to emphasise the long distances that local cancer patients have to travel. I really hope that thousands of local people will come and join us at Kirkbie Kendal on Saturday. The whole community has worked together to make this a really successful campaign, but it's vital that we keep up the fight. The services that the NHS Trust want here in Kendal will make an enormous difference to local people living with cancer. No one living with this disease should be forced to make daily two-hour round trips for treatment."

Tim is continuing to gather signatures for his petition and is preparing himself for the walk by extending his normal programme of running.