19th November 2014
Copeland MP and Labour Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed has responded to North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust’s invitation for the public to share their views on future hospital services.
“Public engagement in how hospital services should look is absolutely critical. It must be an ongoing process without a rushed deadline. This is a welcome, but tentative, first step from the Trust and I hope it will now set out how it will continue take on board the real concerns of local communities.
“These public meetings cannot take the place of meaningful consultation. The meetings are spread out over less than three weeks, with less than a week’s notice until the first one. Many people with legitimate concerns will not be able to attend these meetings at such short notice. The Trust must also make it clear that staff are able to attend and that they can speak freely. Many patients, medical professionals and the public at large will understandably view these meetings as a public relations exercise.
“Meaningful engagement is critical and the Trust is right to meet with the public, but they should commit to more of these meetings in the New Year. People are concerned about the Trust’s plans and they want to have their say and I’m urging those thousands who have protested at the way the Trust has handled matters over recent months to come forward and have their say. The Trust must be willing to listen, it must begin the process of restoring public confidence and it must understand that the people of West Cumbria will not be bounced into any kind of false, dishonest process.”