SOUTH Lakeland MP Tim Farron this morning used health questions in the House of Commons to press ministers to intervene to bring Accident and Emergency services back to Kendal's Westmorland General Hospital.
He raised concerns about the problems caused by long distances between South Cumbria communities and the nearest emergency unit at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary or Furness General Hospital at Barrow.
Mr Farron highlighted the potential health implications of having to travel sometimes up to two hours to the nearest emergency unit. He called on the Minister, Dan Poulter MP; to look into the problem in Morecambe Bay and encourage the trust to review its allocation of acute services across the region.
In response, the minister accepted that ‘the capitation formula has not recognised the fact that there are a lot of older people in rural areas and further distances to travel’, and agreed that the Government would look at the issue.
“The distances that some people across the south of Cumbria have to travel to reach their nearest emergency unit can be up to two hours which is incredibly dangerous, especially for elderly or critical patients," said Mr Farron.
“During the recent crisis at the hospital trust I suggested one way to alleviate pressure would be to increase the number of services at Westmorland General.
"The new management at the Trust have already shown welcome vision and competence. In the New Year we will have the opportunity to input into a review of services across Morecambe Bay.
"I want the trust to use the fresh start that these major reviews provide to bring back accident and emergency services to our hospital.