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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Standard of care at West Cumberland Hospital under spotlight

Inspectors are calling for people to come forward with their views on care at Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital.

West Cumberland photo
West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven

It comes as England’s Chief Hospital Inspector and his team move in to north Cumbria’s troubled hospitals, which were placed into in “special measures” after a previous inspection flagged up concerns about death rates and standards of care.

To get a true picture of what is now happening at the hospitals, Prof Sir Mike Richards has organised a listening event at Whitehaven Golf Course on Tuesday evening.

Starting at 6.30pm, patients, carers and the public are invited to drop in to give their views on services at the Whitehaven hospital, Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary and Penrith birthing unit.

Since being placed into special measures last year, the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has been working to get care at the hospitals back up to standard.

It is now due to be re-inspected. As part of this process, the chief inspector’s team want to hear what the public think about services now being provided by the trust.

The feedback will then help ‘direct’ inspectors to where they should be focusing their attention during the visit.

Following the visit, the trust will be given an overall rating under radical changes which have been introduced by the Care Quality Commission.

North Cumbria is among the first trusts in the country to be visited under the new inspection system. The chief inspector will lead a significantly larger inspection team than before, headed up by clinical and other experts including trained members of the public.

The formal inspection of the north Cumbrian hospitals will also start on Tuesday and last several days.

At the same time as the Whitehaven event, an identical one will be held at the Hallmark Hotel in Carlisle.

Sir Mike said the inspections aimed to give people a clear picture of the quality of hospital services – exposing poor or mediocre care and highlighting good and excellent care.

In a direct plea to local people, he added: “This is your opportunity to tell me and my team what you think, and make a difference to NHS services in the local area.”

The inspection team is expected to look in detail at A&E, medical care (including frail elderly), surgery, intensive/critical care, maternity, paediatrics/children’s care, end of life care and outpatients.

The report will be published later this year.

  • Separate listening events are also underway across north Cumbria as part of a new consultation to help determine what services will be provided in future, and where.

The Together for a Healthier Future campaign is seeking views as health bosses across the area draw up a five-year plan for health services, which could include significant changes.

Events have already been held in Workington and Silloth.

To find your nearest roadshow, or to submit comments by email, visit www.cumbriaccg.nhs.uk

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