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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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The future of hospital services

SIR – I read the newspaper this week and could not believe the amount of spin by NHS establishments and others.

The facilities departments could have been ‘market tested’ at any time over the past 10 years. Why now?

Previously the managers transferred into the private sector, frontline staff remained employed by the NHS. New staff employed by the new provider would get the same salary as the NHS staff but not now: new ministers vetoed that agreement, which leaves everyone transferring and jobs and people’s salaries at risk.

The directors’ jobs are at risk now, under the acquisition of the trust. The acquisition is due to be finalised in March next year, which is the same time as the market testing decision.

One would think the cost of the previous reviews would be enough with the debt the trust has.

As for being positive about the acquisition, does that also mean being positive about the debt and poor management of the trust finances over the past 10 years, resulting in the acquisition?

A once vibrant working district hospital has faded. A new future, even a “vision” would help people believe it is for the best. If the clinical structure is affordable it keeps the Cumbria NHS alive. Why will no-one talk about it? Or better still, discuss it?

If Closer to Home is dead in the water do the public need a new public meeting?

As for comments to keep services in the west; the trust would have to bring half of them back from Carlisle.

While all this cross banter has been going on, services have been moving to Carlisle at a speedy rate. If they haven’t moved, they have been depleted to a level that they are unmanageable under the new savings regime.

If cuts continue to bite, the new trust will need exemplary financial skills and a great deal of fairy dust.

Christine WHARRIER

Unison representative

West Cumberland Hospital

SIR – I would like to praise Bookwell School in Egremont which was awarded an ‘Outstanding’ in the recent Ofsted inspection.

As only six per cent of primary schools across the UK achieve this status, this is a great testament to all the teachers, parents and governors who support the school.

Ofsted were very impressed not only by the teachers but also the positive attitude of the children. Particular praise goes to Chris Ashcroft who, as head teacher, has developed and improved the school and shown his commitment to the school motto “Where every child matters”.

Well done to everyone and as a parent of a Bookwell pupil, I think that this award is truly deserved.

Paul MAXWELL

Haile

SIR – May I thank everybody who attended and supported our Autumn Fair on October 22, at the Civic Hall in Cleator Moor. We raised a super £1,419.57 for Hospice at Home West Cumbria, a substantial sum that will give our funds a significant boost.

I must thank all the volunteers who helped on the day and in the run up to this event as a lot of hard work goes into making, baking and gathering items for the fair.

Our grand draw was drawn at the fair, with 1st prize of a £2,000 photography package from Kerry Armstrong photography going to Mrs Mirehouse, from Maryport. A full list of prize winners is available on request.

Hospice at Home West Cumbria was established 24 years ago to provide the best possible palliative care to local people and to give help and support to their family and carers, and to the bereaved. The NHS pays about 35 per cent of our costs and, we have to raise the remainder ourselves, approximately £7,500 a week, through voluntary efforts. We are very fortunate that the West Cumbrian community gives us such strong and generous support, which enables us to raise the money needed.

In particular we are grateful for the legacies that we receive from time to time, which have been vital for Hospice at Home West Cumbria. These have helped us to continue to provide our services through difficult times and to develop the new services required to meet the needs of West Cumbrian people.

Gillian JOHNSTON

Community Fundraiser

Hospice At Home West Cumbria

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