South Lakeland MP Tim Farron has welcomed the news that health bosses have decided to reconsider the decision to close the Kentmere Ward, and that a final decision has been postponed until the end of the summer pending a further assessment.
In the face of massive public opposition to the closure, health bosses have announced that the ward, whose doors could have closed in just three weeks' time, will now stay open over the summer. Tim has campaigned against the closure alongside local councillors and volunteers from South Lakes MIND. Over 5000 people have so far signed Tim's petition opposing the closure of the ward, which would see mental health patients having to travel to Barrow, Whitehaven or Carlisle instead.
The Cumbria Partnership Trust now say they will look at whether the ward can be upgraded and improved to meet CQC standards. A further decision about the future of the ward will be taken at the end of the summer.
Tim said: "This is a massively important first step towards keeping the ward open and keeping mental health services local. I am delighted at this news, and determined to continue the fight to ensure that the ward remains open. This is a massive victory for local people, who have made their voices very loudly and clearly heard on this issue. Mental health services are vitally important, and must not be removed from South Lakeland.
"This is a stay of execution for the Kentmere Ward, but our work is not yet complete. Now is the time to step up our campaign to ensure that the decision made at the end of the summer is that the ward will remain open. Local residents have made it very clear that they value this ward and the services it provides, and the CQC have been clear that the required improvements can take place within the existing building.
"My thanks go to the thousands of local residents who joined the campaign and signed the petition. I would also like to thank the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for listening to our concerns and deciding to postpone this decision."
To sign the petition, click here: www.timfarron.co.uk/kentmereward
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