NHS Chiefs tell local hospital bosses: ‘don’t asset strip WCH’

Copeland MP Jamie Reed has revealed details of the meeting between NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens and hospital consultants and managers from the North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust which took place at the West Cumberland Hospital on Friday, October 2nd.
Copeland MP, Jamie Reed said: 
“I was delighted to welcome Simon Stevens to Cumbria and the West Cumberland Hospital in particular following my invitation earlier in the year. Alongside my invitation, I called for a comprehensive recover plan for the local health economy and the response to this was the creation of the ‘Success Regime’ for North and West Cumbria. The Success Regime is a process, led by the NHS nationally but involving local medical professionals and others and is intended to develop a locally tailored solution to the problems facing the local health service.
“We were shown around the new West Cumberland Hospital again on Friday, alongside the Chief Inspector of Hospitals Sir Mike Richards and Neil Fleming, the person appointed to lead the ’Success Regime’ process in our area. In addition, we were accompanied by an exceptionally high-powered team that comprehensively covered the leading agencies within the NHS nationally.
“It’s fair to say the the delegation was impressed by the new hospital facility. Following the visit, we sat down with local clinicians to discuss the model of healthcare that the hospital should be able to provide and which is required by the community.
“Local clinicians and managers were told unequivocally that the services already provided by the WCH must not be ‘asset stripped from the new facility in favour of any other hospital’, that the WCH should be on an ‘upward spiral’ with the new facility, that the necessary flexibilities and freedoms would be granted with regard to certain national targets in order to develop a viable, acute hospital model for our community and that the NHS nationally would assist with this work. It was made absolutely crystal clear that services should not be stripped from the WCH and that there is a real appreciation at the very top of the NHS now that we have to develop our services differently to urban areas.
“A very exciting offer was made to the trust and the local clinical team. As a community we now have to make sure that this is delivered upon: we must not fail to capitalise upon this unprecedented opportunity. Critically, we cannot allow any other agenda to interfere with this work – whether this is the acquisition of the Trust by Northumbria or any other corporate ambitions or interests. This is our best chance since ‘Closer to Home’ to secure our hospital services and improve our community services for the long term.
“It’s vitally important that those local medics who weren’t present at the meeting understand the scale of the offer made. We’ve moved rapidly to develop a new medical training campus with UCLan at Westlakes Science Park, the possibilities this presents are huge and I was pleased to secure agreement with my views from Simon Stevens and others that if we get this right here, then we can blaze a trail for communities with similar challenges throughout England.

“Asset stripping from the West Cumberland Hospital must become a thing of the past, this has been made explicitly clear by the most high-powered group of NHS officials ever to visit the West Cumberland Hospital at any one time. It would be absolutely inexplicable if the expectations of the community – and now senior NHS officials – were ignored by the North Cumbria Trust.”
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