No More Excuses: Consultant-led Maternity Services Must Remain at West Cumberland Hospital

Following the publication of the independent review into maternity services across Cumbria, Copeland MP and Labour’s Shadow Health Minister has demanded that consultant-led maternity services must remain at West Cumberland Hospital.

The findings in the report show that the preferred option is to retain consultant led maternity services at the West Cumberland Hospital.  This is consistent also consistent with the commissioning objectives of the Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group.  Jamie Reed MP has now insisted that North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust back the views of the independent report, the clinical commissioning group and the calls of many in the community and protect consultant-led maternity services at West Cumbria Hospital.  He has also called on Northumbria Foundation Trust to make retaining these services at the West Cumberland Hospital a condition of the ongoing acquisition process.

The preferred option, according to the independent review, would see four consultant-led maternity units at Carlisle, Whitehaven, Barrow and Lancaster with the immediate development of midwifery-led unit at Carlisle and Lancaster with a view to developing the same at Barrow and Whitehaven.

Copeland MP and Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed MP said:

“This report demonstrates again the clear intention of the Cumbria CCG to provide consultant led maternity services in Whitehaven at the West Cumberland Hospital. It’s also the latest in a series of reviews into maternity services that have made it explicitly clear time and time again that these services should not be moved. North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust should now accept the preferred option and invest the necessary time and resource into delivering upon the preferred option. This is non-negotiable. It is no longer possible for NCUHT to dodge the issue or to continue to ignore the voices of West Cumbrian mothers and their families.

“For years, I have called upon government to provide the NHS in Cumbria with the funding and resources it requires in order to provide the health services that my constituents and everyone else in Cumbria, needs, wants and deserves. As with the recently published Kirkup report into Morecambe Bay, today’s report strengthens those claims for additional investment and I will yet again be making the case to government, NHS England and NCUHT for these resources to be provided.

“It is clear to everyone, that the provision of consultant led maternity services in Whitehaven is a matter of will and a matter of resource. Last week’s declaration of a major incident across NCUHT’s hospitals and in the wider health economy – involving social services and the ambulance service – proved beyond doubt that the policy of continuously transferring services from West Cumbria to Carlisle is flawed and has compromised both the WCH and the CIC and the quality of care they provide.

“Today’s report is a turning point. I am informed by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust that its acquisition of NCUHT has been paused. Today’s report makes clear beyond any doubt that the provision of consultant led maternity services at the West Cumberland Hospital must be a pre-requisite of any acquisition going ahead. This is the constant recommendation of all independent peer reviews and should now be put to bed once and for all.

“This is a victory for the people, patients and medical professionals of West Cumbria. The government, NHS England and NCUHT must now deliver on the preferred option in the report. There is no place left to hide and no excuses left to give. I’m grateful to the Cumbria CCG, Dr David Rodgers, Dr Anthony Falconer and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for the work they have done. Without doubt, the new West Cumberland Hospital must now have the full consultant led maternity services that the community deserves.”
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