Jamie Reed MP has today led a delegation of West Cumbrian Health campaigners to the Department of Health, to meet with Ben Gummer MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Care Quality. The meeting was arranged following Jeremy Hunt’s cancellation of his scheduled meeting with the group at short notice.
Campaigners Mahesh Dhebar, Rachel Holliday, Siobhan Gearing, Lynne Davies, Molly Davies, Mike Bulman and Carole Woodman set out the case for the retention and improvement of services at the West Cumberland Hosptal, and at local Community Hospitals including Keswick Hospital.
The seven campaigners shared their personal experiences of the NHS in West Cumbria, and explained the difficulties that they and others have faced due to the transfer of services from Whitehaven to Carlisle.
The delegation handed a letter, penned by local Health campaigner Annette Robson, to pass on to Jeremy Hunt. Moreover, they also shared with Ben Gummer a confidential document containing personal testimonies that outline the critical need for consultant led emergency and maternity services ast the West Cumberland Hospital.
Ben Gummer responded to the testimonies given by explaining that he would relay the concerns raised to the Chair of the ongoing Success Regime, Sir Neil Mckay. He encouraged the campaigners to look at the Success Regime proposals when they are published, and he outlined the role that independent reconfiguaration panels play in local health economies.
Copeland MP Jamie Reed said:
“First Jeremy Hunt refused to come to us despite visiting Lancaster recently, so we planned to go to him. Then he cancelled our meeting. That’s why I led a delegation of local health campaigners to the Department of Health, to meet with Ben Gummer MP today.
“I am grateful to Mahesh, Rachel, Siobhan, Lynne, Molly, Mike and Carole for making the very long journey down to London. Together, we stressed the importance of retaining and improving services at the West Cumberland Hospital, and retaining and increasing the number of beds at Keswick Community Hospital.
“Our community is understandably insulted by the disregard with which Jeremy Hunt has shown us, and it is clear that he must visit West Cumbria in order to understand the unique challenges faced by our local NHS. Our communities deserve real support from Government to build a local NHS to overcome those challenges.”
“Without a clear commitment to our consultant led services, the promised second phase of the West Cumberland Hospital, and the services and beds at our community hospitals, it will be impossible to support the Success Regime”.