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Farron: Radiotherapy Decision Must Be Made To Save Funding

February 9, 2016 4:55 PM

Tim marching with over 2000 people to try and bring radiotherapy services to Westmorland GeneralIf a decision is not made soon about bringing radiotherapy services to Kendal, then a half million pound donation will be lost, South Lakes MP Tim Farron has warned. Tim has urged the NHS to make a decision without delay.

Tim has long campaigned to bring radiotherapy services to Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal, as a satellite unit of the Rosemere Centre in Preston. However, a decision about these services is currently being held up due to a review of radiotherapy services which has taken place.

The review of radiotherapy services has been undertaken by specialist commissioners at regional level, and the outcome of the review is now with Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). However, radiotherapy services are not in fact commissioned by CCGs.

Tim has written to NHS England North Specialised Commissioning Team, to ask what the status of the review is, and when it will be published. Tim has also asked for clarification about the impact of this review on the recent and ongoing bid for a satellite radiotherapy unit in Kendal.

Tim has explained that there is an added urgency to his request, given that a large sum of money will be lost to the NHS if a decision is not made soon. A generous benefactor has left a legacy of £500k to contribute towards the building of this unit in Kendal, however this donation is conditional upon a decision having been reached to proceed with plans for a radiotherapy unit in Kendal by June 2016. If the go-ahead is not given by June, then this offer expires.

Tim said: "This review is dragging on - local people, and in particular those who currently have to travel regularly to Preston for treatment, want to see a decision made about radiotherapy services in Kendal.

"The government recommends that patients should not have to travel for more than 45 minutes to access radiotherapy services, yet we all know that the vast majority of South Lakeland residents live further than this from Preston. It is unacceptable that local people have to travel so far to access such essential services.

"The fact that an individual generously left half a million pounds for the establishment of a radiotherapy unit in Kendal, which will be lost if the unit is not given the go-ahead by June, adds extra urgency to the situation. A decision must be made without delay."