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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Prime Minister refuses to give hospital assurances

The Prime Minister has declined to give any assurances as to what future services will be retained at the West Cumberland Hospital.

West Cumberland photo
The West Cumberland Hospital

Copeland MP Jamie Reed put pressure on David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions.

He referred to the PM’s visit to the Whitehaven hospital in June 2010, following the west Cumbrian shootings, and asked for assurances about its future.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Reed said: “At a time of unprecedented crisis the Prime Minister saw first hand just how good the West Cumberland Hospital can be.

“That hospital is being plunged into crisis, starved of staff and facing being stripped of clinical services.

“The nearest hospital is not down the road, it’s 42 miles away in Carlisle and that too is struggling. Will the Prime Minister commit to do everything he can to assist in retaining consultant-led services?”

But although Mr Cameron said he recognised what good work the hospital does, he did not give any assurances about its future.

Afterwards Mr Reed, also Labour’s shadow health minister, said: “What the people of west Cumbria need is reassurance that the service they have come to expect from their local hospital is secure.

“The Prime Minister’s answer to my question – pointedly refusing to support the retention of services – did nothing to reassure me or my constituents. The people of west Cumbria deserve better than this.

“The Government must get a grip of the crisis that it is now inflicting upon the hospitals in West and North Cumbria. It is time for clarity, stability and honesty regarding our health services.

“I am now arranging a public meeting, so that we can receive this clarity and so that patients and the public can make their voices heard.”

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