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Farron Pushes Minister For Radiotherapy Commitment

January 5, 2016 6:08 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron today called on the Health Secretary to back plans for radiotherapy at Westmorland General Hospital.

Speaking in a debate in the House of Commons, Tim asked the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to confirm that the government would underwrite the capital costs of the plan, as well as to support the tariff uplift required to sustain the unit. Last January Tim secured an agreement from the Treasury to fund the £15 million project to bring a radiotherapy unit to Kendal, and he has described the present uncertainty surrounding the funding as "extremely frustrating".

The Health Secretary joined Tim in praising the recent improvements at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, and committed to looking into the funding for the radiotherapy unit in Kendal.

The government's own guidelines suggest that patients should not have to travel for more than 45 minutes in order to access radiotherapy services, yet almost all South Lakeland residents live further than 45 minutes from the nearest unit in Preston.

Tim said: "I have long campaigned to bring these services to Kendal, and I will continue to do so. The Health Secretary has today promised to look into the funding, and I shall continue to put pressure on the government to bring this project to fruition.

"It is simply unacceptable that local residents have to travel so far to access these services. Local people deserve a firm commitment from the government that they will follow through on their promise to provide funding for radiotherapy in Kendal, so that those in rural areas have the same access to services as those elsewhere."