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MP says high cancer mortality means radiotherapy unit must get go-ahead

July 9, 2012 5:13 PM

Tim and the Lib Dems at WGHSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has called upon local NHS commissioners to give the green light to the Westmorland General Hospital radiotherapy centre bid, after new figures showed that the North West has higher than average cancer mortality figures.

The NHS report presented regional and national statistics for cancer rates, smoking and myocardial infarction. It found that the death rate from cancer in the North West is currently 11 per cent higher than across England as a whole. There is concern for heart patients too as the region has a death rate that 30 per cent higher than the national average from myocardial infarction.

Tim has expressed his concern over these statistics and has called for a speed up in plans to bring radiotherapy services to the region, writing to commissioners calling the unit to be given the go ahead. Tim has also asked that the gold standard acute heart treatment, - Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), more commonly known as 'angioplasty' - be brought to South Cumbria as at present the nearest unit is in Blackpool.

In Tim's letter to Ros Berry Chair of the NHS Commissioners who will make the decision, he asked for the bid to be "considered with the utmost urgency".

In recent months Tim has met with senior ministers and health bosses to lobby for the unit to be brought to Kendal and to try and end seriously ill cancer patients exhausting commutes to Preston. Tim wants everyone to live within 45 minutes of a radiotherapy centre as recommended by the National Radiotherapy Advisory Group guidelines.

In further efforts to secure the unit, Tim will also be presenting the hundreds of postcards written by residents who have been affected by cancer across the South Lakes and Eden.

Commenting, Tim said: "The new report has highlighted our need for a radiotherapy unit at Westmorland General. Bringing radiotherapy to the South Lakes is absolutely essential to ensure that local patients do not have to travel debilitating distances to receive treatment. Local radiotherapy services would allow them to be close to family and friends at a time when they most need their support."