THE future of mental health services in south Cumbria are being 'left in limbo', according to an MP.

Bosses have been carrying out a review of mental health and learning disability services, currently run by the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The future of services in the south of the county have yet to be finalised, though it is likely they will be transferred to Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust (LCFT).

A decision by bosses to delay their judgement on progressing to a full business case pending the outcome of quality assurance work at LCFT has been blasted by South Lakes MP Tim Farron.

“Mental health services in South Cumbria are already in crisis, but this latest announcement from the partnership trust shows that the future of those services are being further left in limbo," he said.

“Once again, the people of Cumbria are being treated as the end of the line, with us in the south of the country being treated as a poor relation to a poor relation.

“For the sake of the hundreds of people who find themselves in increasing desperate situations without mental health care, the trust need to get their act together and fast.”

Services in north Cumbria will be transferred to Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW). This means that in north Cumbria, the trusts will now develop a full business case early next year with a view to transferring services to NTW in 2019.

Stephen Eames, chief executive of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “When we started this piece of work I was clear that Cumbria needed support from regional partners in order to sustain and improve the quality of services for people living in Cumbria.

"What has become apparent is that there are some excellent opportunities to strengthen service provision.

"Our partnership with NTW is already helping us to make improvements to our services across the County with the appointment of Gary O'Hare, who is also the Director of Nursing & Chief Operating Officer at NTW on a part time basis, and he has already provided staff to support and strengthen our services for children and young people.

“In south Cumbria, LCFT is also offering new services such as the perinatal community services and already provide pathways for more specialist services such as forensic services.

"We are committed to continue to build our partnership working however the board has decided to delay judgement on progressing to develop a full business case until the quality assurance process for the south is complete.”