West Cumberland Hospital Campaigners, led by Siobhan Gearing alongside Copeland MP and Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed have today delivered a petition of over 10,000 names to the Prime Minister, David Cameron calling on him to protect services at the West Cumberland Hospital.
North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust has recently published clinical options for the future of key services. The Trust’s preferred options involve transferring key services from West Cumberland Hospital to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. The Trust’s medical director has recently said that centralising consultant-led maternity services in Carlisle is an “attractive option”.
However, Dr. David Rodgers, Medical Director of Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group – the body responsible for commissioning services at the WCH – recently told ITV Border that the CCG wanted to see consultant-led maternity services being provided in Whitehaven and Carlisle on “safety grounds”.
Alongside local campaigners, Jamie Reed has been fighting to protect services at West Cumberland Hospital and the presentation of the latest WCH petition to Number 10 Downing Street follows a public meeting held in Whitehaven to discuss hospital services that was attended by 4,000 people.
Jamie Reed and Workington MP, Sir Tony Cunningham, recently secured a debate in the House of Commons on the hospital. Government Minister, Dan Poulter, tried to prevent Jamie from speaking in the debate before backing down.
Copeland MP and Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed MP said:
“The strength of feeling in our community is clear for all to see. Thousands of people have voiced their concerns about the Trust’s plans.
“Local campaigners have done a fantastic job in raising awareness of the issues and they should be very proud of everything they have done.
“The Trust cannot continue to act in the same way. They must engage with local people who rely on these services every day. This petition clearly demonstrates that the Trust will find people willing to participate in meaningful conversation about how their services should look.
“The Trust has no support for their proposals. Neither the CCG nor local people back the plans to withdraw key services from West Cumberland Hospital. Rather than making decisions behind closed doors, the Trust must be open with the people of West Cumbria and deliver the hospital services we need and deserve.”
‘We Need West Cumbria Hospital’ Campaigner, Siobhan Gearing, said:
“This petition should make the Government sit up and listen. For too long, they have sat quiet while the Trust ignores local people and this can’t go on.
“People care passionately about our local hospital and we want our say in the future of it. We have marched, held a public meeting and we have now brought the fight to Downing Street.
“The Government say that local people should have their say on services, but we are being ignored. They must intervene to make sure this happens.”