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Farron calls on Government to restore emergency services to Westmorland

June 24, 2010 12:00 AM

The campaign to bring emergency services back to Westmorland General Hospital gathered pace today after local MP Tim Farron put forward his case for re-opening the coronary care unit to Health Ministers in Parliament.

WGH's coronary care unit was closed in 2008, despite overwhelming opposition from the local community and against Mr Farron's concerns that its closure would put the lives of patients in South Lakeland in severe danger.

Speaking today during his Westminster Hall debate on Accident and Emergency Services at WGH, Mr Farron highlighted the increased risk of having to transport patients suffering a heart to Lancaster or Barrow instead of to Westmorland General. In response the Minister offered to investigate whether the current situation in the South Lakes was a threat to patient safety. Tim has also now been offered a meeting with Hospitals Minister Simon Burns to look further at the potential for bring additional services to Westmorland General Hospital.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"Since 2008, anyone suffering a suspected cardiovascular emergency, a heart attack or a stroke in the Westmorland general catchment area has been taken by ambulance to Lancaster or Barrow instead.

"If someone had a heart attack in Hawkshead, it might take an ambulance half an hour to arrive. The fastest time it would then take to get to Lancaster hospital would be an hour, but it would be more likely to take 90 minutes.

"My time spent on a shift with an ambulance crew in late December convinced me of the need to bring back acute services to Westmorland, as did my visit to Lancaster hospital where it was clear that the service, staff and equipment there, while excellent, are no better than what we had at Westmorland.

"I want the safest and most appropriate emergency care for our communities and the hundreds of thousands who visit our communities each year, which is why it's imperative that the new coalition government does all they can to ensure that emergency services are restored to Westmorland general as a matter of urgency."