A crucial decision over the future of consultant-led maternity services at the West Cumberland Hospital will be made next week.

The date has been set for a crunch meeting of the NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to consider the maternity review.

The extraordinary meeting of the CCG's special governing body will be held on Wednesday (July 3) at Cleator Moor Civic Hall.

It follows a decision made last March to spend 12-months reviewing maternity care at the Whitehaven hospital to determine whether these services are safe and sustainable.

An Independent Review Group (IRG) chaired by Dr Bill Kirkup, and made up of clinical experts in specialities including obstetrics, paediatrics and anaesthetics, has been reviewing progress.

The news that a date has been set for the meeting comes a week after hospital campaigners sent a strong message to Dr Kirkup when he attended a meeting of the Working Together group.

Retired consultant Mahesh Dhebar is among those fighting to save services.

He was at the meeting and has sought to stress the importance of consultant-led maternity, both to prevent mothers having to travel 40 miles in labour to Carlisle, and to secure the long-term future

of other vital services at the West Cumberland Hospital.

The decision to review the service for 12 months was made after the Healthcare For

The Future public consultation in 2016.

The meeting next Wednesday, which starts at 1pm, will follow the same process as the one held in March 2017 and will be held in public.