Health boss to face questions in Maryport over plan to remove hospital beds

Stephen Eames
Stephen Eames

A leading Cumbrian health boss will face questions in Maryport next week amid concerns that beds are to be removed from the local hospital imminently.

Rumours have been circulating in the town that the beds will be moved shortly after Christmas.

The Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation has denied the rumours.

Deputy chief executive Professor John Howarth said no timeline had been agreed and stressed that the beds would remain until alternative plans have been made for community care.

Now Stephen Eames, interim chief executive of the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation, has been invited to meet Maryport Health Alliance at a meeting to be chaired by Workington MP Sue Hayman.

Alliance spokeswoman Kate Whitmarsh said she hoped it would be a constructive meeting.

“We need to listen to what Mr Eames has to say,” she said.

“I don’t want this to be a confrontation. We need to work with the partnership if we want to preserve our services in Maryport.”

She said the alliance would also have the chance to put forward its views.

The then Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group voted in March to back the proposal of the so-called Success Regime that in-patient beds should be removed from the hospitals in Maryport, Wigton and Alston.

She added: “We have been disappointed at what we have seen as a lack of public engagement since the clinical commissioning group upheld the Success Regime’s recommendation that the beds be removed from the hospital.

“We understood that we would be given time to work up new proposals based on keeping any savings in the town and having more control over the local health budget. This does not seem to us to have happened.”

She said she was meeting regularly with palliative care specialist Dr Sarah Stevenson, and Clare Edwards from West Cumbria Carers about concerns we have here.”

Prof Howarth gave assurances that robust plans would be put in place in Maryport, Alston and Wigton which also face bed losses.

He said: “Following on from the CCG decision to close the medical beds in three of our hospitals we have been very clear that until alternative plans have been made the beds will remain.

"I can give further assurance that rumours of these beds being closed ‘shortly after Christmas’ are also unfounded. We cannot do that because alternative plans will not be in place by then.

"We are working with our staff, our health and care partners and local community groups to develop robust alternative plans that ensure that the health care reflects the needs of the communities in Maryport and Wigton and in Alston where a community based model is being used successfully at the moment.

"Once we have agreed plans together they will be submitted to the clinical commissioning group for approval. If approved we will work on enabling the new ways of working and as such there are no timescales agreed.”

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