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NHS North Lancs decision puts Kendal call centre at risk

January 29, 2010 12:00 AM

This week's decision by NHS North Lancashire to split up the former Baycall service will put Kendal's out of hours GP call centre at risk according to local MP Tim Farron.

Since the merger of Baycall and the former out of hours GP provider in the north of the county to form Cumbria Health on Call (CHoC), CHoC has also been providing out of hours GP services to North Lancashire. This week the primary care trust there, NHS North Lancashire, have decided to contract their out of hours GP service to Assura - a private company based in Guernsey, instead of CHoC from 1 April 2010.

Speaking this morning, Tim said, "This is an unbelievably stupid decision. Assura have no infrastructure locally, have no experience of health provision in our area but NHS North Lancashire have presumably chosen them because they are a bit cheaper. The consequence for local people is that our excellent call centre at Westmorland General Hospital could become non-viable, threatening the future of the nurses and other staff currently working for our out of hours service.

"This will also be a matter of great disappointment to both CHoC and NHS Cumbria - and devastating to local patients and NHS staff.

"I am asking NHS Cumbria to act swiftly to direct new responsibilities to the Kendal call centre to ensure that it remains viable so that the excellent service they provide to patients in south Cumbria can continue."