MP wins ambulance return promise
South Lakes MP Tim Farron has won an important victory after the North West Ambulance Service announced that they will allow some ambulances to return to the Westmorland General by the end of the month.
The announcement came during a meeting at the Westmorland General called by Tim this afternoon, which included Darren Hurrell, the new chief executive of the ambulance trust, and Tony Halsall, the chief executive of the hospitals trust.
Under current rules the seriousness of an incident is categorised by the operator who takes the 999 call, who then advises the paramedics accordingly. The most serious incidents from the South Lakes (categories A and B) must be taken to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary or Furness General Hospital even if the paramedics on the scene find that the injuries can be safely treated at the Westmorland General.
This issue is being blamed for the A&E department in Lancaster being so overwhelmed. Tim has been pressing health bosses to change the rules for months and allow ambulances to stop in Kendal.
Today's announcement will mean that paramedics will be able to contact the GP on call at the PCAS unit in Kendal to ask for permission to take the patient to Kendal - a move that health bosses think could mean between and third and a half of all ambulance journeys being redirected.
Tim said after the meeting, "I am delighted that the ambulance trust has agreed to these new rules. This is a vindication of our campaign to keep vital health services in our community. I am glad that I have been able to make health bosses see sense and I will keep monitoring the issue to make sure that they deliver on their promises."