Surgical Patient Transfers More Than Trebled Since 2010

9th March 2015

Propotion of cancelled operations at NCUHT has almost doubled since 2010.
West Cumberland Hospital loses over 20 surgical staff since 2013; Cumberland Infirmary adds over 30.

The number of patients from Copeland and Allerdale who attended West Cumberland Hospital for speciality surgical procedures, but who were then transferred to the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle has increased by a massive 246% since 2010.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Copeland MP and Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed has revealed that, in 2014, over 500 patients from Copeland and Allerdale were later transferred to CIC despite attending West Cumberland Hospital originally; this is up from fewer than 150 in 2010.
Further figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that West Cumberland Hospital has lost the equivalent of almost 23 full time staff from the General Surgery Department since 2013, whereas the Cumberland Infirmary gained an extra 31 in the same period.
Data for cancelled operations show that the number of completed elective operations has fallen, while the number of cancelled operations has risen, compared with 2010.  The proportion of cancelled operations has risen from 2.68% in 2010 to 4.74% in 2014.  These figures are ‘for elective operations only, and give the number of operations cancelled due to non-clinical reasons on the admission or operation date.’
Copeland MP and Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed MP said:

“More and more people from West Cumbria are having to make the long journey along the A595 to Carlisle to receive treatment – the numbers in reality dwarf the projected numbers that the Trust told the public they would have to travel when they removed out of hours surgery from the WCH.

“This change was made without warning or consultation – shamefully – and supports the claim that the trust has transferred services from WCH under stealth.  This breach of trust with the public is exceptionally damaging for the reputation of the Trust with both the general public and the people it employs.

“In order to build services which are clinically sustainable for the future, the Trust must be willing to engage in an open and honest dialogue with local communities. Figures suggest that staff are being taken out of the West Cumberland Hospital while new staff are brought into the Cumberland Infirmary.  This instability within the hospital Trust is clearly taking its toll as an increasing proportion of elective operations are being cancelled.

“The government’s made it easier for hospital trusts to remove services without consulting patients and the public. After being beaten in the High Court twice when trying to strip services out of a London trust, the government got around the legal judgements by changing the law in Parliament. This pattern of behaviour illustrates a worrying culture at NCUHT at a time when hospital culture is in the spotlight. Patients are bearing the brunt of the changes and the wider public is being disenfranchised by not being consulted.  This is unacceptable. I am now referring this to the Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee – as the responsible statutory body – with the request that they investigate this.”
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