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Claims hospital staff in South Cumbria will have to travel to Preston for COVID-19 vaccine

MP Tim Farron has written to the Health Secretary, urging him to intervene so that NHS staff in South Cumbria don’t have to make a lengthy journey down to Preston to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a call with University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, South Lakes MP Tim Farron heard that there was still no firm date for when the vaccine would arrive at the hospitals in Kendal, Barrow and Lancaster.

He also heard that the trust had been told that staff may have to travel to Preston in the meantime to be vaccinated.

In his letter to Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health, Mr Farron said: “I am extremely grateful to everyone in our NHS and beyond who is working tirelessly to vaccinate the population.

“However I was very alarmed by a conversation I have just had with the Morecambe Bay NHS Hospitals Trust who say they are still waiting to be given a firm date for when the vaccine will arrive at their three hospitals in Barrow, Kendal and Lancaster.

“Even more worryingly is that the trust say that they have been told that staff might have to instead travel to their nearest hospital hub to be vaccinated which for our region is in Preston – a roundtrip of nearly 130 miles for NHS staff in Barrow.

“In the middle of a pandemic, forcing key front line staff to make these long journeys is completely unacceptable – they deserve better.

“It makes no sense that hospitals in the north of the county have already got access to the vaccine while hospitals in South Cumbria have been left completely in the dark.

“I would urge you to look into this matter immediately and do everything in your power to resolve it.”