South Lakes MP Tim Farron has written to Jackie Daniel, the new Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust calling on her to submit the bid for a Radiotherapy unit as soon as possible.
In his letter today Tim has written:
Following a meeting with George Nasmyth and your predecessor, Eric Morton last month, I write to urge the real need for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust to be driving forward the bid to bring radiotherapy services to Kendal.
As you will no doubt be aware, I have been campaigning to bring cancer services to the South Lakes for many years. We have achieved several successes, notably the new chemotherapy unit at Westmorland General. However, I have always maintained that it was vital to have radiotherapy services in our area as well.
I hope that you would agree that the argument for bringing radiotherapy to Kendal has been won. The public support is overwhelming, as is the support from healthcare professionals across the South Lakes. I recently met with the Secretary of State for Health, who also offered his support to the campaign.
Please will you personally ensure that the bid to bring radiotherapy to Kendal is submitted as soon as possible? The sooner that the bid is submitted, the sooner that cancer patients in the South Lakes do not have to undertake a gruelling round trip of up to three hours duration to receive their radiotherapy treatment.
Over 2,000 local people recently joined a march to hand over a 12,000 signature petition, jointly organised with the Westmorland Gazette as part of the 'Shorter Journeys, Longer Lives' campaign.
The National Radiotherapy Advisory Group has advised that patients should have to travel no more than 45 minutes for radiotherapy treatment. No part of the South Lakes is within 45 minutes of the Royal Preston Hospital, the nearest site of radiotherapy treatment - and some patients face journeys of over two hours each way. Currently patients requiring radiotherapy from anywhere in the South Lakes and Furness peninsula have to make the gruelling journey to the Rosemere unit in Preston- sometimes on a daily basis.
Tim said: "The ball is now firmly in the trust's court. Over 10,000 people have signed our petition, over 2,000 local people joined our march and the campaign is backed by the Westmorland Gazette.
"I have spent the last few months getting the support of health ministers, the government, the national cancer czar and other important figures. We now need the trust to put the bid in so we can get the ball rolling. I want them to do this as soon as possible."
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