HOSPITAL patients say parking problems in Lancaster are ‘reason enough’ why hospital services should not be moved away from Kendal.
Local people have continued to pour support on the Gazette’s ‘Hands off our Hospital’ campaign, slamming the lack of parking at Royal Lancaster Infirmary – saying more appointments, not fewer, should be held at Westmorland General Hospital (WGH).
“Given the difficulty of parking at any of the three hospitals within reach – Barrow, Lancaster and Preston – the trust should be considering expanding services at WGH where there is space,” said David and Deborah Simmonds, of Grange-over-Sands.
“The WGH is within reach of most of Cumbria and given the ageing population, the distances to be travelled by both visitors and patients should be taken into account.”
Another patient, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “The main reason I dislike going to RLI is because of the difficulty in parking. The site has outgrown its ability to cater for patient and visitor parking years ago.
“To increase services at RLI would only increase the massive problems that already exist, which would be ludicrous.”
The ‘Hands off our Hospital’ campaign was launched following revelations that services at the Kendal site could be moved elsewhere.
A pair of consultants, who work at WGH, raised fears some services could be moved away from the site or out of NHS control – while the Royal Lancaster Infirmary could be in line for £150m investment and Furness General Hospital another £15m.
They said they were told about the proposals by Jackie Daniel, chief executive of the Uni-versity Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (UHMBT), who also said WGH could be ‘gifted’ to a ‘social enterprise’.
Potential changes to the site are being considered as part of the Better Care Together programme, run by UHMBT and the Cumbria and North Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups.
Since then, Hugh Reeve, chair of the Cumbria CCG, has said he cannot give a ‘categorical assurances’ that existing services will be maintained at the Kendal site.
The Gazette has now received 2,748 coupons and 30 signatures online.
The campaign mirrors one being run by South Lakes MP Tim Farron, who has also collected thousands of sig-natures from local people.
"I've been contacted by numerous constituents who have experienced problems with parking at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary,” he said.
“The RLI's location means that there is no room to expand and the local infrastructure struggles to cope.
“South Lakes residents shouldn't have face journey times of more than an hour for treatment, only to find that they are unable to park.
“This is why it is vital that we win our campaign to save the services at Westmorland General Hospital."
* To back the campaign either print off and complete the coupon above or support the campaign online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RYZ5393
* If you have a story to share about Westmroland General Hospital pelase contact reporter Anna Clarke on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01539 790257.
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