10th September 2013
Copeland MP and Shadow Health Minister Jamie Reed has called for a public consultation into changes to high-risk surgery at the West Cumberland Hospital. He said:
“I have written to Ann Farrar at NCUHT calling for a public consultation regarding these changes and I have submitted a series of freedom of information requests relating to this decision making process.
“Everyone wants the safest services and the best medical outcome for patients – I have always fought for this – but there are a number of problems with this rushed decision.
“The clinical evidence has not been provided to support this decision, the public hasn’t been consulted, there are real concerns about what such a move means for other services at the West Cumberland Hospital – such as consultant led maternity services – and moving out of hours surgery from Whitehaven was never part of ‘Closer to Home’.
“How can the Trust provide 24hr consultant led maternity services in Whitehaven if there is no 24hr surgical cover at the West Cumberland Hospital? This unannounced removal of services looks like a Trojan Horse with which to remove other services from the West Cumberland Hospital and this is unacceptable.
“I’m particularly concerned by the attempt to hide behind the Keogh report as a reason for this move. I have spoken with Bruce Keogh personally who told me directly that there was ‘nothing wrong that couldn’t be fixed’ in either Carlisle or Whitehaven.
“I’m asking for people to sign a petition to force a public consultation on this. The Trust has to come clean on its future plans for the West Cumberland Hospital. West Cumbria has a very clear idea of what it expects Northumbria to deliver: removing services against their will, on a flimsy basis that could ultimately result in the collapse of other services will be resisted at every turn.
“The Trust and the CCG has to come clean, it has to consult the public and it has to deliver Closer to Home. Right now, we are nowhere near doing so. All over the country, hospitals are in trouble and services are being withdrawn by stealth – this must not be allowed to happen here. All of these issues will be addressed by my Health Summit at the end of the month.”