Jamie Reed MP: I stand shoulder to shoulder with my community to protect local Health Services

West Cumbrian MP Jamie Reed has today responded to the preferred optionsconsultation-doc, as published by the West, North and East Cumbria Success Regime, on the future of local Health Services.

The Success Regime, which has been appointed by Government to find solutions to the problems faced by Cumbria’s challenged Health economy, published its formal consultation document on Monday 26th September, and members of the public are invited to submit their responses before the Christmas period.

Jamie Reed has stated that he opposes, in the strongest terms, all recommendations to remove 24 hour consultant led services, including maternity, A&E, paediatric and stroke services from the West Cumberland Hospital. He also repeated his call for the previously promised release of the funding in full for phase two of the redevelopment of the West Cumberland Hospital.

Moreover, Jamie Reed raised concerns about references to an expected decrease in the local population, about the Success Regime’s understanding of the unique challenges faced by his rural local community, and about measures to address the local recruitment crisis.

The Copeland MP is actively calling upon his constituents to put a line through the consultation document, and write “24hr CLU @ WCH” in its place. He is also encouraging local people to write “Phase2 @ WCH” on their consultation responses to ensure that the local community’s voice on the full release of funding is heard by the Regime

The full consultation document and the opportunity to submit a response can be found online at http://www.wnecumbria.nhs.uk/. Paper copies should also be available in GP surgeries and libraries around West Cumbria.

Copeland MP, Jamie Reed said:

As the Government appointed Success Regime announces its preferred options for the future of Health Services in West Cumbria, I urge everyone with a stake in the future of our local Health Services to respond to the public consultation by demanding the retention and improvement of fully functioning, 24 hour consultant led services at the West Cumberland Hospital, and the release of the funding in full of phase two of the redevelopment of the Hospital. I will be putting a line through the document in my response, and writing ‘24hr CLU @ WCH’ and ‘Phase 2 @ WCH’. I encourage others to do the same.

“I stand shoulder to shoulder with my community, with local families, campaigners and clinicians; and I support the Save our Services campaign, launched by the News and Star, Times and Star and Whitehaven News.

“I am deeply concerned that a number of the preferred options put forward by the Success Regime are an exercise in asset stripping – from plans to move A&E, to children’s services and maternity provisions away from Whitehaven. This is in spite Simon Stevens’ clear message that the Hospital must not be asset stripped, and in spite of the report on local maternity services by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The case for retaining and improving our 24 hour consultant led services in resounding.     

“My concerns also include a reference in the consultation document to an expected decrease in the local population. I wrote earlier this year to the ONS, who projected a fall in the local population, to express my concerns that their methodology did not consider the thousands of jobs that will be created in my constituency as a result of the Moorside development, and I explained that the figures should not be used for local service planning purposes. I am concerned that, by moving vital services from Whitehaven on the basis of low population figures is to disregard the unique challenges and needs of my community, and I believe that innovative solutions to recruit to the Hospital have not been explored sufficiently. 

“On maternity, an issue that many of my constituents contact me about every day, the Success Regime would prefer to remove a 24 hour consultant led maternity from the West Cumberland Hospital, in favour of a midwife led unit with consultants on site between just 8am and 8pm. Mothers would be expected to travel up the A595 to Carlisle, a road that is not fit for purpose. I say that, as a community, we must demand the retention of a 24 hour consultant led maternity at the West Cumberland Hospital.