More than one use for a sports ground

Thousands gather over fears for West Cumberland Hospital

save hospital meeting Rugby League Ground in WhitehavenAround four thousand people turned up to a public meeting demanding answers about the future of services at the West Cumberland Hospital.

Speakers at the meeting, held at the Rugby League Ground in Whitehaven, included Copeland MP Jamie Reed, county councillor Chirstine Wharrier and retired hospital consultant Mahesh Dhebar who experessed concern over sevice cuts.

Questions were put to a panel which also included Jeremy Rushmer, medical director of the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and David Rogers, GP and medical director for Cumbria’s Clinical Comissioning Group (CCG).

The debate became heated as concerns were raised about patients having to travel further for treatment, changed to the maternity unit, bed numbers, staff recruitment and emergency care.

But Jeremy Rushmer said moving services to Carlisle and even Hexham, such as those for trauma and cardiac cases, have led to fewer deaths. He also added that an independent review is to take place over the maternity services. He said:

“We are wholeheartedly committed to providing a positive future for West Cumberland Hospital and want to deliver care that is better than anything West Cumbria has seen before and amongst the best in the NHS.”

“We recognise that there is always more we can do to improve the overall experience, not just the clinical outcomes, of those patients who do need to transfer from West Cumberland Hospital and we are now focussed on continuing to make things even better.”

Councillor Christine Wharrier thinks the meeting has been an eye opener for NHS officials. She said:

“They’re not going to move services without an outcry from the public which is the message that we’ve been trying to get through to them. They’ve got to start listening to the communities because every government days it’s your NHS, you’re community, tell us what you want, but these people aren’t doing it.”

“There’s got to be a way where we can stop this now until they sit round a table and tell us what they’re doing. We can’t afford people to die on the A595, they can’t afford it either. It’s maybe been a reality check tonight; maybe that’s what they needed as well. I hope so because I wouldn’t like to think their heads are still in the clouds.”



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