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Farron calls for inquiry into 'scandal' of lack of doctors at Westmorland General Hospital

April 6, 2010 12:00 AM

Local MP Tim Farron has demanded an immediate inquiry into the fact that, on four occasions in recent weeks, there has not been a single doctor on duty at Westmorland General Hospital over night.

For a significant part of the night, responsibility for ensuring that there is a doctor at the hospital falls to Cumbria Health on Call - the troubled GP out of hours service. They are contracted to provide that service by NHS Cumbria. However, several members of hospital staff have reported to Tim that in recent weeks there have been four occasions when there has not been a single doctor available for the medical wards, or for emergency admissions over night.

Tim said, "I have demanded an immediate inquiry into this appalling failure. NHS Cumbria must ensure that a doctor is available at all times - indeed that was the promise they made to our community when they took over responsibility for running the medical and admissions departments of our hospital overnight in 2008. The Trust is putting patients at risk and breaking their promise to the people of the South Lakes."

Tim has made his call directly to Sue Page, Chief Executive of NHS Cumbria. This new follows Tim's proposal last week that south Cumbria should be 'liberated' from the Cumbria Health on Call contract to allow local GPs to provide a local on-call service and ensure safety at Westmorland General Hospital.