South Lakes MP Tim Farron has said there is “overwhelming public backing for the Kentmere ward”, as over 1500 local residents have backed the campaign to save it in less than a week.
The Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust announced last week that the Kentmere Ward, which provides adult mental health services at Westmorland General Hospital, will be closed from the end of June.
Tim was out in Kendal town centre on Saturday collecting petition signatures, alongside volunteers from the charity South Lakes MIND. The petition is also accessible online. So far, over 1500 local people have backed the campaign against the removal of adult mental health services from South Lakeland. Local Lib Dem activists are continuing to collect signatures to show the extent of local support for the ward.
Tim has also spoken with both the Chief Executive of the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Head of Inspection (Mental Health) from the Care Quality Commission, to urge them not to close the ward and remove the services from South Lakeland.
Tim said: “The mental health services which this ward provides here in South Lakeland are massively important. It has been incredibly moving to hear the stories of so many local people who have told me about the wonderful care and support they received at the Kentmere Ward, and the difference it has made to their lives. Sadly, this simply won’t be the same if local people have to travel to Carlisle, Barrow or Whitehaven to access these services.
“The response to the petition shows that there is overwhelming public backing for the ward, and I will continue to fight against the closure.
“The CQC’s report highlighted a number of issues about the physical environment at the ward, but it stopped a long way short of calling for the ward to close. Although certain improvements must be made, these services must not be taken away from South Lakeland.”
To sign the petition, go to www.timfarron.co.uk/kentmereward