West Cumbrian MP, Jamie Reed has called on the Government to hear and act on the ‘clear message’ sent to them by Cumbrians on the future of maternity services in the county.
An overwhelming majority of people surveyed by the Healthwatch Cumbria and the Maternity Services Liaison Committees said they preferred to have their baby ‘in a hospital unit with midwives and doctors’. This is clear public support for retaining consultant-led obstetric units at the West Cumberland Hospital.
Jamie Reed MP also paid tribute to those who responded to the survey. The report reveals that the highest levels of engagement in the survey came from Copeland and Allerdale and acknowledges the work undertaken by local campaigns.
The report also highlights some of the unique challenges facing healthcare provision in Cumbria including transport infrastructure, the distance between sites and the impact of these on ‘time, safety, convenience, cost and communications.’
The survey found that:
- When asked where they think their baby should be born, 70% said ‘in a hospital unit with midwives and doctors’
- When asked what a reasonable travel time would be to where the baby was born, 60% replied ‘less than 20 minutes’ and 37% replied ‘between 20 and 40 minutes.’
Copeland MP, Jamie Reed said:
“This is a clear and direct message: the people of West Cumbria want timely access to a consultant-led maternity unit. Thousands of people have engaged in this consultation and the result is overwhelming in support of retaining local services.
“This report, once again, proves beyond doubt that in West Cumbria, you will find one of the most committed, knowledgeable and passionate communities when it comes to local NHS services. Residents in Copeland and Allerdale should be commended on how they have proactively engaged with this process, lending real weight to the conclusions drawn from the report.
“Of all the issues that are discussed in this comprehensive report, one thing is clear above all else: Consultant-led maternity services must remain at the West Cumberland Hospital. It is that simple and the Government must ensure the Trust has the resources to ensure services are retained.”