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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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‘This will NOT be a cottage hospital’ says Trust chief

WEST Cumberland Hospital will NOT become a cottage hospital, health bosses have insisted.

The question was asked this week by a Facebook group campaigning to ensure vital services remain at the Whitehaven hospital.

Siobhan Gearing, of Mirehouse, who heads the group, said they needed a list of what services are at risk and that the group wanted assurances that it wouldn’t be downgraded to a cottage hospital.

At a meeting of the North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust board this week, chief executive Ann Farrar said: “West Cumberland Hospital isn’t planned to be a cottage hospital – it isn’t now and will not be in the future.

“A cottage hospital is just two or three wards, for example like at Maryport. West Cumberland will have an A&E service and will admit acute medical patients.”

Mrs Farrar said that trauma and high-risk emergency services, which had gone to Carlisle from Whitehaven would not be brought back because staff needed to be based together in large teams.

The Whitehaven hospital will be carrying out many more planned operations such as cataracts, hernias, hip and knee replacements.

Mrs Farrar also said some work will be carried out at the West Cumberland which, although not considered high-risk, would be “just below” that level.

“Will there be change?” said the chief executive. “Undoubtedly. But that change is both ways. There will be a lot of work that can be done here (Whitehaven) and that won’t always be low-risk.”

Medical director Jeremy Rushmer added that by taking the highest risk patients to Carlisle they had lowered the mortality risk.

“It’s a case of what we can deliver with the staff that we have got,” said Gina Tiller, trust board chairman. “We want safe, sustainable services.”

Mrs Gearing also asked what was happening with maternity at Whitehaven. The Whitehaven News reported last week from an independent report which suggested one option might be to move consultant-led care to Carlisle and leave Whitehaven with a midwifery-led unit.

Mrs Farrar said there would not be a decision on maternity for some time.

She said currently there was just one anaesthetic rota to support medical, intensive care and maternity but national standards say there should be two. “The rota we have at the moment, we are struggling to staff,” she added.

The Whitehaven News asked whether the Trust board thought it was safe to consider an option of women from West Cumbria travelling in an ambulance 40 miles to give birth. Mrs Farrar – and the trust board – said they thought it was a safe option to consider and that all possible options would be explored.

Have your say

More smoke screens. Lets look at whats happening at WCH, no Jnr Drs, Consultants retiring not being replaced. Support departments being centralised. Management support moving to carlisle - which would imply there will be no management. The management are based at CIC, they only concentrate on CIC and WCH is basically a nuisance to them. WCH should be detatched from the current Trust, let them concentrate on their little domain in Carlisle and across to the North East and let the people of West Cumbria have the service they deserve, we arent second class citizens to Carlisle. I cant seem someone who lives in Dalston travelling to Whitehaven for an appointment, why should we have to go there or further. Come on Mr Richardson, rally the troups and lets really SAVE OUR SERVICES

Posted by Dont Trust the Trust on 7 August 2014 at 10:24

I am certain the last time I visited the WCH that there were wards. Maybe I was hallucinating from the gel which I used to clean my hands.

Posted by Jon Jones on 2 August 2014 at 10:32

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