Health Minister Avoids Visit to West Cumberland Hospital

West Cumbrian MP Jamie Reed has criticised David Mowat MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, for his decision to avoid visiting the West Cumberland Hospital during an official Government trip to the Copeland constituency.

This news comes as details have emerged that the Minister visited Millom yesterday (23rd August). Despite being in the constituency, and in spite of multiple requests to the Department for Health from Jamie Reed, for a Health Minister to visit to West Cumberland Hospital, Mr Mowat avoided doing so.

Additionally, the Minister did not inform the local MP of his visit. This is a breach of Parliamentary protocol and the Copeland MP has reported the breach to the Speaker of the House of Commons.

In a letter to Mr Mowat, Jamie Reed writes “As a Conservative Minister in the Department of Health, I can only assume that you wanted to keep your visit to West Cumbria low-key. The impact of your government’s health policies upon the health services of West and North Cumbria generally give you good reason to want to keep your visit as quiet as possible”.

He goes on to write “In Millom, a remarkable community, in partnership with dedicated and passionate health service professionals are innovating new pathways of care and service provision on a shoestring budget. We can only imagine where this innovation would now be had the Coalition government you supported not cancelled the project to build a new community hospital in the town”.

Copeland MP Jamie Reed said:

David Mowat has demonstrated a shocking disregard for our community.

“I have sent multiple letters, Parliamentary Questions and personal requests to the Secretary of State for Health and his Ministers, calling upon them to visit the West Cumberland Hospital to see for themselves the challenges faced by Health services in our community. Here in West Cumbria, patients, NHS staff, families and campaigners are united in our determination to build a local health service equipped to overcome the unique challenges that we face. However, we have been consistently let down by Government ministers who have so far refused to visit the Hospital and intervene to ensure the retention of vital 24-hour consultant led services at the hospital.

“Despite travelling to Copeland yesterday, Mr Mowat chose not to visit  the West Cumberland Hospital. That is an insult to our community, to all those who rely on our consultant led services and to all those West Cumbrians whose voices must be heard by Government, but which are currently falling upon deaf ears.

“Moreover, Mr Mowat failed to inform me of his visit to Copeland and this is a clear breach of Parliamentary protocol. I will be writing to the Speaker of the House of Commons to raise this issue with him.

Politics is about accountability not cowardice and it’s about time this government was accountable to the people of West Cumbria for the damage it’s inflicting upon our NHS.”

David Mowat 1

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