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Farron calls for reopening of dementia ward at Westmorland General

November 17, 2009 12:15 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has called for the return of Ward 2 to Kendal's Westmorland General Hospital, following the launch today of a report by the Alzheimer's Society on the experiences of hospital care for people with dementia and their carers.

The report, drawing on evidence from 2,000 people with dementia, carers, nurses and ward managers, argues that dementia is a challenge that must be addressed if the NHS is to improve overall. It calls for strategic action on dementia to deliver key aspects of the health policy agenda, including high quality of care, efficiency, health and social care integration and moving care out of hospital and closer to home.

Mr Farron has asked hospital trust bosses to open a new facility for older people with dementia related illnesses, after the closure of the elderly mental health ward-known as Ward 2-led to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary having to send many patients to Westmorland General.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"This report could have been written with Westmorland General in mind. The medical wards at our hospital contain many patients with dementia but there is no specialist support for them.

"Since the loss of acute services from Westmorland General in 2008, the Royal Lancaster Infirmary is shipping many patients with dementia to the Westmorland General, which although full of fantastic nurses, isn't staffed by an expert dementia team.

"Two years on from the closure of Ward 2, and still nursing staff and patients alike are suffering due to the lack of specialist provision at the Westmorland General.

"This pressure is as a result of the trust's decision to go ahead with service cuts last summer - they owe it to their outstanding nurses and to all patients to take action now to provide the right care for those with additional needs by reopening Ward 2."