Farron calls for two new ambulances for South Lakeland
Local MP Tim Farron has reiterated his call for two extra ambulances for the South Lakes following a meeting with the chief executive of the North West Ambulance Service yesterday. Tim will write to health commissioners to call for two additional ambulances for the area - one to be based in Kendal and one in Windermere.
Tim thanked Chief Executive Derek Cartwright on behalf of his constituents for the excellent work done day and night by ambulance staff, but also raised concerns about waiting times and changes to funding.
Figures uncovered by Tim last week revealed that despite staff's best efforts, waiting times for some ambulance services in the North West have doubled over the last five years. Responses to some of the most urgent calls last year took up to four times the national target.
Tim said: "It has now also emerged that commissioners are moving to turn the current per-case funding system for the ambulance service into a block grant. Given that Cumbria saw a 17% rise in ambulance calls last year, it is pretty much certain that a block grant will mean a cut in funding".
Tim added: "In addition to these worrying stats, I was shocked to learn from the chief executive yesterday that on average 16 hours each day are wasted by ambulance crews in South Lakeland alone while they wait to be released by hospitals.
"Often beds are blocked by hospital patients who are well enough to leave, but who cannot be found suitable social care packages. This means that they are stranded in hospital and so blocking beds that could be used by patients coming in.
"This congestion means that ambulance crews end up not being able to release their patients early enough.
"In light of these concerning facts, and given the extra challenge of providing ambulance services in such a rural area, I am stepping up my campaign and calling for an additional two extra ambulances to be based in South Lakeland."