Locum staff appointed at WCH

3rd April 2014

Copeland MP and Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed has reacted to news that Locum doctors will be appointed to provide support to nursing and medical teams at West Cumberland Hospital.

He said:

“This move is welcome, but it can be nothing more than a short term fix. Without my FoI requests flushing these issues out into the public domain, I doubt that this would have happened. Replacing permanent staff with Locum doctors is unsustainable and will just create more problems in the future. Imagine a school where every teacher was a supply teacher, or a business where every employee was on a short term contract; neither would last for very long.

“Various reports into health care in West Cumbria has shown that more clinical staff are needed, yet the Government continues to do nothing.

“The Trust is already spending almost 5 times more on Locum staff than it was five years ago and this is a bad deal for patients.  Junior Doctors have been removed from the hospital this week because of a lack of clinical supervision; bringing Locum doctors in won’t address this as they can’t offer training to the Junior Doctors.  This is building up an even bigger recruitment crisis for the future and it will form a convenient basis upon which to remove services. We need absolute clarity about what services are going to be provided by the WCH and the CIC before the acquisition of the NCUHT is completed. There is no guarantee right now that temporary fixes designed to ease this acquisition through the regulatory approval process will be provided after the acquisition has taken place.

“Every patient in Cumbria needs answers and they need them now. This situation spells every bit as much trouble for the CIC in Carlisle as it does for the WCH in Whitehaven. Without answers, the acquisition may well be stopped in its tracks.

“This looming crisis has David Cameron’s fingerprints all over it. Incoherent, costly government policies have brought chaos to our local NHS, and in the House of Commons yesterday, the Prime Minister pointedly refused to support the campaign to retain services at the West Cumberland hospital.”

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