Westmorland psychiatric unit closure plan reversed

Westmorland General Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption The 12-bed ward treats people with acute psychiatric conditions

Plans to close a hospital psychiatric unit have been dropped following a public campaign.

The Kentmere Ward at the Westmorland General Hospital was criticised in a Care Quality Commission report, which highlighted a lack of single sex rooms and suitable outside spaces.

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust announced its closure in May.

It will now remain open, pending a consultation of adult mental health inpatient services due later this year.

The closure would have meant mental health patients having to travel as far as Carlisle, Barrow and Whitehaven for treatment.

It prompted a campaign led by local MP Tim Farron, and a petition which attracted more than 7,000 signatures.

'A massive difference'

Claire Molloy, from the foundation trust, said: "Whilst we acknowledge that Kentmere does not meet the standards of modern mental health inpatient care, we are satisfied that the actions taken over the past few months are managing the risks posed by the environment on a short term basis.

"We have also reviewed the risk of putting in place an alternative service if the ward was to temporarily close, and have concluded that the risk of closing the ward temporarily is greater than keeping it open."

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem MP Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: "Today's victory is the result of months of campaigning by local people, who have made it very clear to local health bosses that we will not accept mental health services being removed from South Lakeland."

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