15th July 2013
Copeland MP and Shadow Health Minister Jamie Reed has called for hospital services across North & West Cumbria to be protected in advance of the publication of the Keogh Review. He said:
“I have supported the work of Bruce Keogh from the outset. We need full transparency in the NHS if we are to solve problems and improve services.
“The postponed publication of the Keogh Review will now take place just days before parliament rises – this does not lend itself to parliamentary scrutiny or accountability. Many people working in the local NHS fear that the Keogh Review may be used as a smokescreen with which to remove hospital services.
“There are clearly those within government who have encouraged open-season on the NHS but throughout Cumbria and across the country people want to see services improved not vandalised as part of a political project.
“Three years into this Parliament, the government’s approach to the NHS has been characterised by secrecy and deceit. David Cameron hid his widely discredited reorganisation of the NHS from the electorate before the election, the government then refused to publish the risk register into the likely detrimental effects of these changes and the pre-election pledge of a ‘bare knuckled fight’ to stop ward closures has proved to be nothing more than a blatant con-trick.
“I owe a great deal to our local health services, but following the latest CQC reports into both the Cumberland Infirmary and the West Cumberland Hospital, it is clear that there are issues to be tackled.
“Because of what has already been reported by the CQC, there will undoubtedly be significant criticism of North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust within the review. Everyone should welcome candour – both patients and medical professionals – but the only response to this review must be to fix problems where they arise. Where services require improvement, we should mend them not end them.
“Undoubtedly, there are major challenges facing the NCUHT and these need to be addressed urgently. The recent CQC report highlighted a number of issues at West Cumberland which can be traced to insufficient staffing levels. I have written to Jeremy Hunt seeking action on staff shortages and on the prolonged acquisition by Northumbria Trust. Both are having a detrimental effect upon patient care across our area and urgent action is required. Without action, local services are being set up to fail.”