DEPUTY Prime minister Nick Clegg has given hope to campaigners for a return of the heart unit at Kendal’s hospital.
Speaking during a visit to Westmorland General Hospital to see the new £170,000 chemotherapy unit, Mr Clegg said if local people wanted a cardiac unit to re-open then local health managers would have the power to make that decision.
The opening of the chemotherapy unit in June followed years of campaigning by Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron and local residents.
Mr Clegg said the NHS reforms gave powers to local health authorities to address these issues.
“In very general terms, letting local authorities decide what issues they think are most important to prioritise allows for things such as this chemotherapy unit to open — something the residents and Tim have spent so much time campaigning for.”
He added that if the local health authority decided a cardiac unit should be opened at WGH, it now had the the power to spend its budget on that project rather than being instructed by commissioners on what the money had to be spent on.
The heart unit was closed at WGH three years ago, prompting a major campaign for its retention.
Mr Farron was praised by Mr Clegg as being one of the best campaigners in British politics.
“Tim isn't just a great campaigner within the Liberal Democrats but he's one of the best within British Politics,” said Mr Clegg.
Mr Clegg said another issue the coalition planned to tackle was the postcode lottery for carers, of which there are around 11,000 in South Lakeland.
“We need to make absolutely sure they (carers) get support from the government,” said Mr Clegg. He thought an important way of doing this was to share resources fairly between all carers rather than some getting more help depending on where they lived.
Just hours after leaving WGH an angry voter in his 20s threw blue paint over Mr Clegg on a visit he made to Glasgow’s Woodside Hall.
He was not hurt during the incident but it is believed the blue was used to highlight Mr Clegg's alleged Conservative views.
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