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MP urges Health Secretary to intervene after South Cumbria NHS staff told they might have to travel to Preston to be vaccinated

December 16, 2020 2:42 PM

Local MP Tim Farron has written to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, urging him to intervene so that NHS staff in South Cumbria don't have to make a lengthy journey down to Preston to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a call with University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Tim heard that there was still no firm date for when the vaccine would arrive at the hospitals in Kendal, Barrow and Lancaster and that the Trust had been told that staff may have to travel all the way down to Preston in the meantime to be vaccinated.

In his letter to the Secretary of State for Health, Tim said: "I am extremely grateful to everyone in our NHS and beyond who is working tirelessly to vaccinate the population.

"However I was very alarmed by a conversation I have just had with the Morecambe Bay NHS Hospitals Trust who say they are still waiting to be given a firm date for when the vaccine will arrive at their three hospitals in Barrow, Kendal and Lancaster. Even more worryingly is that the Trust say that they have been told that staff might have to instead travel to their nearest hospital hub to be vaccinated which for our region is in Preston - a roundtrip of nearly 130 miles for NHS staff in Barrow.

"In the middle of a pandemic, forcing key front line staff to make these long journeys is completely unacceptable - they deserve better.

"It makes no sense that hospitals in the North of the county have already got access to the vaccine while hospitals in South Cumbria have been left completely in the dark.

"I would urge you to look into this matter immediately and do everything in your power to resolve it."