Nick Clegg hears of radiotherapy campaign

Posted on Sep 01, 2011

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was told of the need for a cancer unit for South Cumbria patients during a visit to South Lakeland. The Liberal Democrat party leader visited Westmorland General Hospital – the preferred site for a radiotherapy unit – which would save patients long journeys to Preston to receive treatment.

Mr Clegg was joined by Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, who has long championed the need for a radiotherapy unit at the Kendal hospital to service people in Furness, South Lakeland and parts of West Cumbria. Mr Farron also told the Deputy Prime Minister about the campaign he led to bring chemotherapy treatment to the Kendal hospital.

He said: “I spoke to Nick and really did press the case for a radiotherapy unit based at the Westmorland General. He was impressed by the campaign we have run and the success we have had bringing chemotherapy to the South Lakes. It really was a strong community effort, but it was just the first stage. I want us to now push on and bring radiotherapy to our area.”

Earlier this year, the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust and the Preston-based Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust submitted a business plan to indicate the need for a radiotherapy unit in South Lakeland.

Government guidelines in the Cancer Reform Strategy state no patient should have to travel for more than 45 minutes to receive treatment.

Mr Farron said: “The clinical staff also made the point to Nick that for people in Millom and beyond who have to travel to Preston for treatment, it is outside the government’s 45-minute target for radiotherapy treatment. If we bring a unit to Kendal, it will bring a vital service closer to people in South Cumbria.

“Nick listened and took that on board. My job is to now bring health bosses, the government and commissioners around the table and push the project forward.”

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