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Radiotherapy services 'Another step closer' - Farron

July 2, 2013 10:52 AM

Tim and the Lib Dems at WGHSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has said radiotherapy services at Westmorland General in Kendal are 'a step closer' after the Government agreed to allow NHS commissioners greater flexibility. Tim has followed this up with a letter to NHS England asking them to give the cancer unit the 'green light'.

One of the potential barriers to getting radiotherapy in the SouthLakes has been the inflexibility over the funding formula for smaller rural radiotherapy units such as the one proposed for Kendal. The 'national standard tariff' is too low to cover the costs at these smaller units.

However, in an answer to a parliamentary question from Tim, Dr Dan Poulter, a health minister, said: "where commissioners and providers find that the payment by Payment for Results rules prevent them from doing the best for patients, local variation is permitted. Flexibility in the national price paid is permitted where there are plans to redesign services to support better care for patients, whether it is close to home, more convenient or of higher quality. The application of any flexibility requires agreement by the commissioner and provider."

Tim is writing to NHS England and to local health bosses now this hurdle has been cleared to encourage them to move forward immediately with plans to bring radiotherapy to Kendal.

Tim said: "One of the major stumbling blocks to bringing radiotherapy was the price it would cost per treatment. In a rural area that could have made radiotherapy impossible. Now that the Government have stated that flexibility is permitted, the door is now open for the commissioners and the hospitals trusts to bring radiotherapy to Kendal. Hundreds of local people are forced to travel unbearable distances for vital radiotherapy. Having won our campaign to get chemotherapy to Kendal, we now stand an even greater chance of winning radiotherapy too."