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Farron calls on government to change the criteria to make it easier for local people to receive radiotherapy treatment

November 14, 2017 4:22 PM

Local MP Tim Farron has called on the government to make travel time part of the official criteria for delivering radiotherapy to make it easier for local people to access radiotherapy treatment.

According to the National Radiotherapy Advisory Group, travel for radiotherapy treatment must take no longer than 45 minutes.

Despite this, people living in places such as Windermere, Ambleside, and Grasmere have to travel well over an hour to receive the nearest treatment in Preston or Carlisle.

At the moment travel time isn't part of the criteria for delivering radiotherapy services, with NHS England saying that radiotherapy providers should deal with lengthy journeys for treatment through "car parking concessions; dedicated parking spaces and well managed appointment processes".

However, NHS England are now holding a consultation into how radiotherapy services can be improved across the country.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Tim asked the Minister of State for Heath to ensure that travel times can become part of the criteria for delivering radiotherapy.

Tim said: "South Cumbria is one of the few places in England where patients must travel longer than three quarters of an hour for vital radiotherapy treatment.

"It is frankly cruel to force people who are already very poorly to make a 2 or 3-hour round trip every day, for weeks, in order to receive life-saving care.

"If travel time becomes part of NHS England's criteria for delivering radiotherapy then we'll have a much greater chance of bringing a satellite unit to Westmorland General, which would mean the world to local people who currently have to make the long journey to Preston or Carlisle."