Carlisle hospital will not cope with extra demand when surgery moves, claims council leader
Last updated at 16:22, Thursday, 26 September 2013
A council leader is calling for action to halt what he has labelled the “haemorrhaging of health services” from west Cumbria.
Allerdale’s Alan Smith also fears Carlisle will not cope with the extra demand this winter as more patients move over there.
He is therefore calling on the Government to take urgent steps to stop more services being lost from Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital.
He has joined forces with the area’s two MPs and other local councillors.
It comes as health bosses prepare to move high-risk general surgery to Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary from next Tuesday. They say the change is needed to make services safer, but Mr Smith believes it will leave west Cumbrian patients more vulnerable.
“We are haemorrhaging services, with operations and key departments being pushed to other areas.
“I fear we are sleep-walking into a dark place where health services will be non-existent and Carlisle’s hospital will crack under the strain. What’s going to happen when winter arrives? People are going to die,” he said.
For the past three months all emergency trauma and orthopaedic patients have been transferred to the Cumberland Infirmary.
From next week high-risk general surgery, such as appendectomies, will also take place in Carlisle.
The move follows a damning Government report calling for urgent improvements on both sites.
Bosses say the move will make services safer. But Mr Smith is instead calling for the recruitment of more experienced staff to allow services to remain in the west of the county. He also wants facilities at the area’s community hospitals developed.
Copeland MP Jamie Reed has already launched a petition to force a public consultation into the planned move. It has already attracted more than 1,000 signatures. He also voiced concerns about winter pressures if the Cumberland Infirmary takes on yet more work.
But the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospitals, said plans are in place which will reduce pressure on its A&E departments this winter – bolstered by a £2.3m funding boost from Government.
Working with community health providers, plans being developed include setting up a seven-day discharge lounge at both hospitals, improving patient transport and GP access and ensuring services join up better.
A control hub is also being set up in Carlisle, where hospital staff, community and social services will make joint decisions about admissions and discharges.
A spokeswoman stressed that the transfer of surgery is needed to ensure all patients have access to the best and safest care, no matter what time of the day or night they take ill.
She added: “Surgeons working at hospitals have been at the heart of the changes, which echo what many of the best performing NHS trusts in the country are already doing. It has been clinically proven that having the service on one site, available 24/7 with dedicated teams, will improve the outcome for our patients and reduce mortality rates.”
She added that patients would be transferred back to the west as quickly as possible after surgery, and that only small numbers would be affected. Meanwhile more routine surgery would be able to happen at the West Cumberland Hospital.
But Mr Smith is adamant that no more services should be allowed to move. He will use a health summit next week, organised by Mr Reed, to further the campaign.
First published at 16:15, Thursday, 26 September 2013
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
I have looked after patients at the end of their life and been hassled to discharge someone and I know how stressful that is however my priority is with the patients that needs the care. I know its difficult but ask
the person what do you want me to do , neglect my patients or create a bed and tell them you will record their answer. Dont be bullied into neglecting patients. Keep patients at the centre of your care and not beds.
the trust is in special measures as it fails to provide basic care due to the inability of the managers to manage, provide enough nurses to care for patients on the wards and by continually trying to reduce bed numbers leading to rushed discharges, long waits. As for the comment about poor nurses 'are well paid for what they do' I would like Freda to do the job for a day, constantly getting hounded for why the patient hasnt been discharged whilest your trying to care for 2 poorly patients, 1 in their last hours of life, 3 patients needing assistance to the bathroom and 1 wondering patient needing reassurance, and other wards trying to handover yet more patients. All whilest the trust are trying to deband most of the nursing staff and create yet another layer of managment instead of reducing them.
View all 5 comments on this article