MP sets out NHS vision for South Lakes
South Lakeland MP Tim Farron has set out his vision for the future of NHS services in South Lakeland in the light of secret Government plans to save millions by cutting services.
The Government wants health bosses in Lancashire and South Cumbria to find £805million of savings by 2021. Details of the impact of these savings are being kept secret, but in other parts of the UK are leading to the closure of wards or whole hospital departments.
Tim said: "Instead of being all about cuts, we need health bosses to look at our local NHS services as a whole and make sure that they are meeting the needs of local people as well as being sustainable. For example, we've already seen over the summer that our local A&E departments are struggling with patients being told to stay away."
Tim's six priorities are to create an Urgent Care Centre at Westmorland General; improve mental health services; stop plans to permanently remove 24-hour cover and post-natal care to the Helme Chase maternity unit; get on with the project to bring radiotherapy services to Westmorland General; return stroke care to Westmorland General; and transfer some surgery from Lancaster to Kendal to alleviate pressure there.
Tim said: "The proposed changes to NHS services are a potential threat to our area, not least given the government's plans to make huge savings. However, it is also an opportunity for us to set out a positive and realistic case for better care in our area - both mental and physical. I am determined that the South Lakes must not simply become an overlooked addition to Lancashire-centric plans.
"A&E services in Barrow and Lancaster are in crisis, trying to turn patients away because they are under so much pressure. Plans for an Urgent Care Centre at Westmorland General, and to bring other services to Kendal, would help to alleviate pressure on hospitals elsewhere. This plan would therefore benefit not just South Lakes residents, but also service users elsewhere.
"The return of a 24-hour maternity unit at Helme Chase, with a post-natal ward on site, is a change which is currently being consulted on. Westmorland mums must have the choice to have their babies in Westmorland. I will do all I can to make the case for this important service.
"I am asking local people to join me and back this vision. We have fought for our services before and I am confident that together we can do so again, to ensure that local people can get the care they deserve."