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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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5,000 sign MP's petition calling for consultation before changes made to hospital

More than 5,000 people have signed a petition telling bosses they expect full consultation before making any changes to their hospital.

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MP: Jamie Reed is set to speak at meeting

West Cumbrian MP Jamie Reed launched the petition last September after some high risk surgery was suddenly moved from Whitehaven to Carlisle on safety grounds.

It calls on health leaders to ensure that any permanent changes to services at the West Cumberland Hospital would be subject to proper consultation and not rushed through.

It has been available to sign online or at shops and libraries across Copeland.

Bosses at Cumbria’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which decides exactly what health services to fund across the county, have already said no changes will be forced through “by stealth” and promised to have an open conversation with the public.

But Mr Reed, who represents Copeland and is also Labour’s shadow health minister, said they have been let down in the past. He has therefore delivered the petition to the Department of Health.

He said: “Last year, Sir Bruce Keogh undertook a review into mortality rates in North Cumbria – these had risen since 2010 – and I sought assurances that this review would not be used as a smokescreen to strip services from the West Cumberland Hospital. I was told categorically that this wasn’t going to happen, but in September high risk trauma and orthopaedic surgeries were moved without any public consultation.

“It is simply not right that changes affecting many vulnerable patients can be made without any public input.

“This petition of more than 5,000 signatures calls on the Department of Health, the local (CCG), North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust and the acquiring Northumbria trust to commit to a public consultation on any proposed future changes to hospital services at West Cumberland Hospital.

He added: “The voice of our community must be heard and our hospital services must be secured.

“We need to remove the doubt and fear so that we can achieve stability and improve care.”

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