31st October 2013
Copeland MP and Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed MP has reacted to the report by the Care Quality Commission which shows the moving of high-risk surgery to Cumberland Infirmary has left patients waiting hours for transport at West Cumberland Hospital. He said:
“Patient care should be the priority for our local health services, but local patients are again paying the price for government cuts to the NHS and the recent changes to local hospital services.
“Moving out of hours high-risk and emergency surgery an hour up the road was clearly going to put strain on the transport resources available in Cumbria and it is clear that patients are now suffering because of this.
“At the Health Summit I hosted recently, it was revealed that the number of patients that would be transferred for surgery from West Cumberland to Carlisle was greatly underestimated and there is no clearer demonstration of this than patients being made to wait over four hours before being moved to the Cumberland Infirmary for emergency and high risk surgery.
“When these changes were first announced I insisted that a public consultation was undertaken so local communities could understand the impact of the reconfiguration. This has not been forthcoming and we are now confronted with a situation where patients are left waiting for hours. The report states that managers were ‘clear that there was further work to do around the reconfiguration’ yet the public are being kept in the dark. This is unacceptable. Jeremy Hunt goes to court in order to retain the right to close hospital services in London, but repeatedly fails to show any interest in what is happening in Cumbria.
“Our trust has been placed in special measures yet not told what these special measures are or what it must do to get out of them. It’s being used as a political pawn and local patients are bearing the brunt of a crisis made in Whitehall. All the while under staffing remains a huge problem. The reality is that Jeremy Hunt is setting our local hospitals up to fail so that big cuts can be made on the back of this.
“As we move towards what will be a very severe winter, pressures on Ambulance services will only increase. The effects of this, causing blockages and delays right across the system will only make matters worse. To make service changes when there isn’t enough resource to cope with the new arrangements is clearly unacceptable. North Cumbria and Northumbria are both struggling with Hunt’s neglect, but the local Trust needs to be clear about how it will now address this and I will give them my full support in navigating a way through the chaos caused by Jeremy hunt’s incompetence.”