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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Cumbrian MP demands talks on hospital services

AN MP has called on health bosses to start 2014 by coming clean about exactly what services will be provided at west Cumbria’s new hospital.

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Building for future care: Copeland MP Jamie Reed performing the topping out ceremony at West Cumberland Hospital in November. The MP wants asurances the hospital will provide the necessary services

A petition, signed by over 2,000 people, calling for a public consultation is set to be handed over to the Department of Health by Copeland’s Jamie Reed this month.

The first phase of the new West Cumberland Hospital, at Whitehaven, is due to be finished by the end of this year.

It will then be handed over ready to open in early 2015.

The man leading the development, Les Morgan, has stressed that the plan for the £90m hospital includes all of its current services – including A&E, maternity and ITU. But there remains concern about the future after some urgent surgery was stopped.

There has also been talk of a wider review of all health and social care services across Cumbria as a whole.

Back in October Nigel Maguire, chief officer at NHS Cumbria’s Clinical Commissioning Group – which decides how health budgets are spent – said it would be conducting a “short but thorough” piece of work to determine exactly what services should be provided at the hospital.

He also promised an open public conversation and vowed changes would not be forced through by stealth. But no date for any kind of consultation has been set.

Mr Reed said now, at the start of a crunch year for the Hensingham hospital, the time has come to talk.

He said: “2014 should see the opening of the new West Cumberland Hospital – an achievement fought for by the entire community – and we now need to make sure that it provides the services necessary for patients and for the attraction and retention of top quality medical professionals.

“This effort has endured for almost a decade and we are now approaching the crunch point. Before the new West Cumberland opens, we will need to know precisely what services it will provide.

“We have the opportunity to create something special, but we must guard against very real threats to services.

“That’s why I’m asking people to sign my petition calling for a full public consultation on services provided at the hospital, which will be presented to the Department of Health this month.”

Copies of the petition are available at local shops or you can sign it online via www.change.org.

PMcGowan@cngroup.co.uk

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