NCUHT Compromises Maternity Services Review

27th October 2014
Copeland MP and Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed has called for the independent review of maternity services in North Cumbria to be postponed following the prejudicing of the review by the Trust’s Medical Director, Jeremy Rushmer.
Jamie Reed said: 
“In recent days, Dr Rushmer has told the media that removing consultant led maternity services from Whitehaven and centralising them in Carlisle is an ‘attractive option’ and that maternity services could be taken from Whitehaven all together and placed in Cockermouth. Both are ridiculous propositions and it’s clear that Dr Rushmer, on behalf of the Trust, is trying to prejudice the outcome of an allegedly independent review of services.
“The Trust has adopted a hamfisted bullying strategy of late in an attempt to force a manufactured compromise with regard to what services should be provided at the West Cumberland Hospital. The Cockermouth suggestion is just one such ludicrous example: the notion of removing maternity services from an area of higher socio economic need with poor transport infrastructure and relocating it in an area much further away with better transport links and a much wealthier socio-economic surrounding is , frankly, absurd. This isn’t a remotely serious proposition and this game-playing only erodes what faith remains in Dr Rushmer and the Trust. The point of this proposal is to try and create a compromise whereby consultant led services are removed from the WCH and replaced by a midwife led service – but this is a false choice.
“In addition, Dr Rushmer’s description of consultant led maternity service centralisation at Carlisle as an “attractive option” has prejudiced the review in a fundamental way – particularly as other Trust employees with contrary views are forbidden from speaking publicly. The Trust has an obligation to demonstrate that it hasn’t rigged the deck with regard to its decision making process, tragically, it’s approach has only served to give the opposite view and it is almost impossible to have any faith in the honesty of the Trust right now.
“To address this, the Trust should commit to four actions without delay:
  • Grant a staff amnesty so that medics can speak out without fear of retribution
  • Postpone the maternity services review
  • Commit to a service user review of maternity services (lay-review)
  • The Trust should explain why, given the prejudicial nature of his interventions, why Dr Rushmer should continue as Medical Director
Without demonstrable change at the Trust, it’s unlikely that it will be able to secure support from medical professionals and the public with regard to decisions regarding the future configuration of services at both hospital sites across North Cumbria.”
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