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Monday, 06 July 2015

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‘Community must demand inquiry into the running of our hospitals’

SIR – I hope no one is in too much shock about the Dr Foster report, the message has been clear for years. Our hospitals are mismanaged and totally out of sync with the rest of the country.SIR – I hope all those involved in the management of the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, and our politicians of all parties are preparing with great urgency changes that will bring about improvements in the health care of the population they serve in Cumbria following the Dr Foster review.

We have in Cumbria a blinkered community at times. A junior doctor raised concerns last year, resulting in the Deanery in Newcastle, which monitors new doctors, withdrawing student nurses from areas in the hospitals, and an even more damning comment by junior doctors who stated they would not be happy to admit their families, especially during the night. The reason was lack of senior doctor cover. The deanery gave the trust time to improve.

The problems include: ambulances sitting outside A&E with patients in to help stop breaches of the four-hour wait; a reduction in beds, leaving staff frantic to find beds; hospitals in both north and west running on red (a code for no beds in either hospital), yet beds continue to close; consultants with limited admin support delaying appointments; staff working 12-14 hours a day due to cuts; patients moved around wards, even after midnight; leaving patients on inappropriate wards.

The trust know these facts and other more worrying facts but either deny it or become blasé.

The community needs to demand an investigation into the running of our hospitals over the past 10 years when it has seriously deteriorated. Staff are fed up of taking the blame for managerial failures. They work under extreme pressure with little or no support.

Northumbria appear to be trying to get it together, but without the confidence of staff and the public they will find it a hard road. We wish them well. I believe they have brought in their own team, what a sad statement.

We, the community, do not need another managerial team blaming the previous managerial team, without making changes. Every time the same old team have remained or conveniently moved to other health service employment.

Come on Cumbria, we need answers not platitudes. We live here and we want to live in good health. If the new trust needs more financial help to put things right let an investigation prove it, just because we live in a rural community does not mean we are not entitled to someone getting it right.

Demand an explanation or a petition to the Secretary of State for health. Anyone agree? Or anyone up for a march?

Christine WHARRIER (former Unison convener West Cumberland Hospital)

Calder Avenue


To be on a list of hospitals showing concern for the deaths of patients both in the hospitals’ care and following release from hospital for one year is bad enough, to be on the same list for two consecutive years is inexcusable.

In the last year the hospital staff have expressed their concerns publicly and to their managers, only to be ignored. Now the Dr Foster review shows the staff were right to raise the issues they did.

Politicians of all parties should hang their heads in shame for the damming results of this review. Forget about your silly party politics and serve the people you say you care about, fund our hospitals adequately and stop the deaths this report has so shockingly exposed.

Name and address supplied

SIR – In recent months I’ve had quite a lot of spells of ill health and had to be admitted into West Cumberland Hospital on three different occasion.

I feel I want other members of the public to know how, had it not been for them and the doctors and staff, I would not have been writing this letter of thanks to all concerned: WCH, CCU, Honister Ward and James Cook Middlesbrough.

Each and every one of them and their staff’s care, kindness, dedication was administered to me and all patients. They were first class, no less; I appreciated them 100 per cent.

They are Guardian Angels. Please praise them all. Even after 12-hour shifts their attitude was superb.

It saddens me to hear and read of the negative reports of our hospital and they deserve something better.

Name and address supplied

SIR – I am writing regarding the proposed closure of the Tourist Information Centre and The Beacon museum in Whitehaven.

The West Cumbrian coast is keen to attract more tourism. Whitehaven is only a few miles from the Lake District – these visitors should be attracted further afield to the coast which has so much to offer.

I realise this can be a challenge for the council in these present financial conditions but as one of the slogans used by Copeland Council is “Proud of our past, energised for our future”, The Beacon museum shows Whitehaven’s past in every way.

I have been living in Cumbria for four years now. Originally from Sweden, I have travelled extensively throughout Europe. I have visited many museums and I would put The Beacon and Whitehaven in my top 10 list of museums/places to visit.


Etterby Road, Carlisle

SIR – I am gathering material to write an account for Cumbria’s military museum of the part played by 51st Field Regiment RA, the county’s TA gunners, in the Second World War, when they served in Norway (in 1940), in the Western Desert (where they were part of the force besieged in Tobruk), in Ceylon and India, and finally in Burma as part of Wingate’s “Chindits”.

I should very much like to talk to any veterans who may still be alive, but if the families of others who served in the regiment have any papers, cuttings or photographs, I should be grateful for an opportunity to see them.

I can be contacted on 01228 710688 or by post at Garth House, Evening Hill, Thursby, Carlisle CA5 6PU.



SIR – These days watching the news on television is a very depressing experience.

All we hear is talk about recession, double-dip recession; high unemployment; benefit cuts and a national debt of trillions of pounds. This has prompted me to write the following poem.


I remember the people who lived in our street

And the struggle they had to make ends meet

I remember the women on the shore picking coal

To eke out the pittance families got on the dole

I remember their men folk who hadn’t a dime

Standing on street corners just trying to kill time

I remember hearing the rumblings of empty tums

As kids sat in their classrooms doing their sums

Then at noon came the clatter of clog-shod feet

As they raced to the free-dinner hall in a nearby street

And this was repeated at half-past-three

When the children went back for free bread and some tea

I remember those times as the bad old days

And they could return if we don’t mend our way.


Newlands Gardens

Moorclose, Workington


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