Jamie Reed MP’s Urgent Appeal to the Prime Minister and Health Secretary to Retain and Improve NHS Services

Jamie Reed HospitalWest Cumbrian MP Jamie Reed has issued an urgent appeal to the Prime Minister and to the Secretary of State for Health, calling on them to visit West Cumbria as a matter of urgency, and to intervene to ensure that consultant led services, including Emergency, Maternity, Paediatric and other services are retained and improved at the West Cumberland Hospital.

Jamie Reed’s intervention comes as the West Cumbrian community steps up its determined campaign to retain and improve 24-hour consultant led services in Whitehaven.

Meanwhile, the West, North and East Cumbrian Success Regime has recently produced a document in which they state that “Clinicians, including midwifes, and maternity liaison groups, have all come to the same consensus that a consultant-led [maternity] unit is not sustainable at the West Cumberland Hospital”.

However, just last week, local midwives issued a letter in which they set out that the removal of 24-hour consultant led maternity services would be unsafe, explaining that;

“We cannot believe that you would remove consultant cover from WCH. Surely the lives of pregnant ladies are worth much more than a cost cutting exercise?

We are told that these cuts are for safety reasons. That we know is not true. We also know that:

• MOTHERS WILL DIE • BABIES WILL DIE • BABIES WILL BE BRAIN DAMAGED

• FAMILIES WILL BE TRAUMATISED”

Moreover, in his letter to the Prime Minister, the Copeland MP explains that the Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, was very clear to local clinicians and managers during a meeting late last year, that the West Cumberland Hospital must not be asset stripped. Additionally, in his letter to the Health Secretary, Jamie Reed states that “as Secretary of State for Health, I sincerely hope that you feel a responsibility to ensure that my community are afforded access to vital local consultant led services”.

Copeland MP, Jamie Reed said:

“Our brave local midwives have spoken and they have my full support. The determination of our community is incorrigible: we will never accept nor allow the removal of 24-hour consultant led services from the West Cumberland Hospital. 

“My community and I are absolutely clear that Government must intervene immediately to provide assurances about our 24- hour consultant led services, just as the Health Secretary provided assurances to maternity services in North Devon, which is also subject to the Success Regime.

“Here in West Cumbria, we have been let down time and time again by the Health Secretary. This cannot go on, the new Prime Minister must accept my invitation to see for herself the unique challenges that we face, and she must intervene to provide us with the assurances and resources that we need to overcome those challenges”.

Wording of Jamie Reed MP’s letter to the Prime Minister:

Rt Hon Theresa May MP

Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

London

SW1A 2AA

15th August 2016

Dear Prime Minister,

Health Services in West Cumbria

As you know, the Cumbrian Health economy is experiencing the most prolonged period of intense pressure that it has ever faced and it is currently subject to the Success Regime process.

I enclose a copy of the letter that I sent to you on 18th July, setting out the challenges faced by the NHS in this unique part of the world. I explained that the Secretary of State for Health has so far rejected my calls to provide my community with the resources that we need in order to build the more robust health economy that we need to overcome those challenges, and I asked you to fulfil the promises made by Government to the people of my community in the aftermath of our darkest hour in modern times.

I invited you to visit the West Cumberland Hospital to see for yourself the challenges that we face, and I look forward to your positive reply to my invitation.

Since last month, there have been a number of concerning developments with the Success Regime process. Government continues to fail to provide assurances to my community that our consultant led emergency and maternity services will be protected. This is despite the Health Secretary providing assurances to maternity services in North Devon, which is also subject to the Success Regime, during Health Questions on 5th July.

This month, the Success Regime in Cumbria has produced a document which sets out that “clinicians, including midwives, and maternity liaison groups, have all come to the same consensus that a consultant-led [maternity] unit is not sustainable at the West Cumberland Hospital”.

My community and I strongly refute the statement. I have been contacted both publicly and privately by local consultants, midwives and mothers who tell me that the removal of consultant led maternity services would be unsafe and would risk lives. I attach a copy of the open letter released by local midwives, setting out that;

“We cannot believe that you would remove consultant cover from WCH. Surely the lives of pregnant ladies are worth much more than a cost cutting exercise?

We are told that these cuts are for safety reasons. That we know is not true. We also know that:

  • MOTHERS WILL DIE • BABIES WILL DIE • BABIES WILL BE BRAIN DAMAGED
  • FAMILIES WILL BE TRAUMATISED”

This is clearly unacceptable.

Moreover, late last year, during a visit to the West Cumberland Hospital, the Chief Executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens, explained to local clinicians and managers that the West Cumberland Hospital must not be asset stripped from the new facility in favour of any other hospital.

In light of recent events, and considering the public intervention of our brave local midwives, I am writing to repeat my invitation to you as a matter of urgency, to visit West Cumbria, to meet with myself, my community, and those who best understand the needs of local mothers and their babies – our midwives.

Please intervene, as a matter of urgency, to ensure that consultant led services, including Emergency, Maternity, Paediatric and other services are retained and improved at the West Cumberland Hospital.

I look forward to your positive reply to this, and my letter or 18th July.

Yours sincerely,

JAMIE REED

Member of Parliament for Copeland

CC:

Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health

Mr Simon Stevens, Chief Executive NHS England

Sir Neil McKay, Chair of the West, North and East Cumbria Success Regime

 

Wording of Jamie Reed MP’s letter to the Secretary of State for Health:

Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP

Secretary of State for Health

Department of Health

Richmond House

79 Whitehall

London

SW1A 2NS

15th August 2016

Dear Secretary of State,

Urgent: Your Responsibility to West Cumbria

As you know, the Cumbrian health economy is undergoing the most prolonged period of intense pressure that it has ever faced. I have previously sent you a number of messages from my constituents relating to Health Services in West Cumbria, and I hope that you have taken the time to give them your full consideration.

West, North and East Cumbrian Health services are subject to the ‘Success Regime’ and the strength of feeling and determination in my community to retain and improve our local health services, including consultant led A&E and Maternity Services, is incorrigible.

You will remember that earlier this year, you declined my invitation to visit West Cumbria to see for yourself the challenges faced by Health Services in this unique part of the world. You agreed to meet instead with a delegation of local health campaigners, who planned to make the expensive and long journey from West Cumbria to London to speak with you. You may remember that, at short notice, you cancelled the meeting.

The delegation met instead with the then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Care Quality, Ben Gummer MP. They shared their personal experiences of the NHS in West Cumbria with the Minister, and they 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 onto you, and they shared with the Minister a confidential document containing personal testimonies that outline the critical need for consultant led emergency and maternity services at the West Cumberland Hospital.

Since the meeting, my community has received no assurances that our consultant led emergency and maternity services will be protected. This is despite your providing assurances to maternity services in North Devon, which is also subject to the Success Regime, during Health Questions on 5th July 2016.

However, since the meeting with the Under Secretary of State for Care Quality, the Success Regime in Cumbria has produced a document which sets out that “clinicians, including midwives, and maternity liaison groups, have all come to the same consensus that a consultant-led [maternity] unit is not sustainable at the West Cumberland Hospital”.

My community and I strongly refute the statement. I have been contacted both publicly and privately by local consultants, midwives, and mothers who tell me that the removal of consultant led maternity services would be unsafe and would risk lives. I attach a copy of the open letter released by local midwives, which you are copied into, setting out that;

 “We cannot believe that you would remove consultant cover from WCH. Surely the lives of pregnant ladies are worth much more than a cost cutting exercise? We are told that these cuts are for safety reasons. That we know is not true. We also know that:

  • MOTHERS WILL DIE • BABIES WILL DIE • BABIES WILL BE BRAIN DAMAGED
  • FAMILIES WILL BE TRAUMATISED”

This is unacceptable. I have repeatedly stated that I want the Success Regime process to work, but if the needs of my community, local women, children and their families are going to be ignored, then I will withdraw my support for this process. I understand that improving the NHS in West Cumbria will be not be an easy process, but we cannot achieve the change that we desperately need if Government refuse to listen.

Despite your being in post since 2012, neither you, nor your Ministerial team have undertaken a visit in an official capacity to the West Cumberland Hospital. As the Secretary of State for Health, I sincerely hope that you feel a responsibility to ensure that my community are afforded access to vital local consultant led services.

In light of recent events, and considering the public intervention of our brave local midwives, I am writing to repeat my invitation to you as a matter of urgency, to visit West Cumbria, to meet with myself, my community, and those who best understand the needs of local mothers and their babies – our midwives.

I look forward to your urgent and positive reply.

Yours sincerely,

JAMIE REED

Member of Parliament for Copeland

CC:

Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Prime Minister

Mr Simon Stevens, Chief Executive NHS England

Sir Neil McKay, Chair of the West, North and East Cumbria Success Regime

 

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