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MP welcomes decision to send ambulances to Westmorland General Hospital

November 8, 2011 10:46 AM

Tim and the Lib Dems at WGHSouth Lakes MP, Tim Farron, has welcomed the decision by the North West Ambulance Service to start encouraging paramedics to take patients with minor injuries to the Primary Care Assessment Service (PCAS) at Westmorland General Hospital.

Following the transfer of acute services to Lancaster in 2008 the North West Ambulance Service takes all patients from the South Lakes directly to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary's A&E department regardless of their condition. However, this has led to greatly increased journey times as well as ambulances queuing at Lancaster because of a lack of capacity in the A&E department there.

Recently the North West Ambulance Service acknowledged that many ambulances in South Lakeland are making unnecessary journeys as the PCAS at Westmorland General Hospital is still equipped to deal with minor injuries.

The announcement that the Ambulance Service intends to encourage paramedics to take patients to Westmorland General Hospital is extremely welcome as it is expected to reduce journey times of patients with minor injuries as well and relieving some of the pressure at Lancaster's A&E to ensure the highest possible quality care for patients with more serious injuries.

Commenting this morning Tim said: "This is brilliant news that will help to bring down patient waiting times as well. Our fight to improve services at Westmorland General goes on, but it is daft that patients that could be seen at the PCAS unit are being taken to Lancaster.

"My only concern is that we ensure paramedics have the necessary training to be able to correctly assess which hospital they should be taking patients to, otherwise we may run the risk of ambulances always erring on the side of caution and taking too many patients to Lancaster. I fully intend to do all I can to ensure that the Ambulance Service provides this training to make the most of this decision which will benefit people across the South Lakes."