Following almost seven months of fearing for the future of a vital hospital service, a decision has been made.

After the one-stop breast clinic was moved from West Cumberland Hospital to Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary at the start of the pandemic, members of the We Need West Cumberland Hospital (WNWCH) group have repeatedly raised concerns over the clinic's permanent base.

Although North Cumbria Integrated Care Trust said the move was a temporary measure, helping hospital staff manage footfall and services during the height of Covid-19, fears continued to rise as the months went by with no answers.

But following consultations, the trust has shared news that the lifesaving breast clinic will return to West Cumberland Hospital before the end of the year.

Dr Rod Harpin, Interim Medical Director, said: "This [one-stop] clinic had been provided with a single experienced radiologist without onsite support from colleagues where a second opinion or discussion about a case is required.

"With the reduced radiology hours available to us, it has been more difficult to restart this clinic, however we are preparing to do so with the aim of restarting in two months time.”

He added: "Our services at West Cumberland Hospital for women undergoing breast surgery are second to none and it’s our ambition to provide a bigger and better one stop treatment service in the future.”

But WNWCH isn't satisfied, with member Annette Robson saying: "We are pleased that a positive commitment has been made to re-start the [clinic] at West Cumberland Hospital.

"However [some of] your comments suggest to us that any excuse to make the removal of the [clinic] from Whitehaven to Carlisle a permanent one will be taken.

"Re-starting the clinic earlier than the end of the year as is planned, along with a firm commitment to the long term future of the breast clinic at our hospital, would help regain the trust of the people of West Cumbria – something we are told is important to you.

There is currently no set date for the clinic's return, but many are hopeful it will be re-introduced at West Cumberland sooner than suggested by the trust.