Give us back our GP out of hours service - MP calls on new government to intervene to protect local GP out of hours service
South Lakes MP Tim Farron has reacted with extreme concern to reports that the local out of hours GP service is deteriorating following the decision to close their Kendal call centre. There have been reports of patients not being responded to and choosing to call an ambulance instead.
Cumbria Health on Call chose to concentrate their call centre and administrative functions at Carlisle, with the Kendal centre (based at the Westmorland General Hospital) to close at the end of June.
Tim has already called on NHS Cumbria to release south Cumbria from the Cumbria Health on Call contract so that local GPs can form a new consortium to serve the South Lakes and Barrow, with a call centre retained at Kendal. NHS Cumbria has so far failed to agree to Tim's request.
Tim has now escalated this to the new Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley and the new Liberal Democrat Minister of State Paul Burstow - asking them to investigate the failings of Cumbria Health on Call with a view to ensuring that south Cumbria is allowed to provide its own local out of hours service.
Speaking this morning, Tim says, "When Cumbria Health on Call was founded a year ago, we were promised that south Cumbria would get as good a deal as patients in the north of the county, but this promise seems to have been broken. It's time that NHS Cumbria stopped brushing this matter under the carpet and agreed to allow south Cumbria doctors to run a locally based service - if NHS Cumbria will not do this, then I hope that the new government will intervene."