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£572million NHS cuts 'ask the impossible' - Farron

March 10, 2017 3:44 PM

Tim Farron MP speaking to local residents at the mental health victory rallySouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has vowed to continue to fight to protect local NHS services in South Cumbria, following the government's announcement in the budget that it would press ahead with savage NHS cuts. This news comes in the week that it was announced that beds would be closed and services removed from hospitals in North and West Cumbria.

The Chancellor announced in this week's budget that the government will press ahead with its 'Sustainability and Transformation Plans'. These plans will see £572million cut from health and care services in South Cumbria and Lancashire by 2021, raising the question of how the money will be found.

In the north of the county, which is also under pressure to find millions of pounds of savings, it was announced this week that beds will close and services will be removed from smaller hospitals. Most acute surgery, as well as children's services and stroke support have been downgraded at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven. All in-patient beds have also been removed from the community hospitals in Alston, Maryport and Wigton.

Prior to the budget, the Lib Dems had called for an emergency £1.5billion cash injection for the NHS, which would have led to a £20million boost in Cumbria.

Tim said: "The government's failure to provide our NHS with the emergency cash boost it needs, coupled with the decision to press ahead with savage cuts, raises serious questions about the future of health services in our area. In our area, the government is slashing £572million by 2021. These plans ask the impossible of our NHS.

"We are already seeing in the rest of the county the effect these Conservative plans are having, and South Lakes residents are understandably concerned. I vow to continue to fight for our local health services as I have in the past, and know that our community is ready to join me in that fight. We have successfully fought to keep Westmorland General Hospital open in the past, last summer we managed to keep our mental health ward open, and if necessary we will fight again to protect the services local residents rely on."