West Cumbrian patients to be transferred to Carlisle
Last updated at 15:00, Thursday, 05 September 2013
All high-risk patients in west Cumbria will be transferred to Carlisle for surgery following major changes in the way the hospitals are managed.
North Cumbria University NHS Hospitals Trust has announced that from tomorrow, no complex operations will be done at Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital out of hours - at evenings and weekends.
Hospital bosses revealed this is step one of a phased transfer, as it plans to carry out all high-risk surgery - 24 hours a day, seven days a week - at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary from October 1.
It had previously announced proposals to carry out orthopaedic and trauma surgery in Carlisle but this is the first time an announcement about all high-risk surgery, including appendectomies and operations on broken hips, has been made.
Dr Jeremy Rushmer, interim medical director, said the move would resolve some of the concerns raised in the damning Keogh report, published earlier this year.
It is hoped that the changes, which are supported by the NHS Trust Development Authority and NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), will improve patient safety.
One union insists this is the only way to guarantee patient safety, although a second union has questioned whether the infirmary can cope with any increase in numbers.
Dallan McGleenan, from the union Unison, said: “What we would like to know - as I’m sure the people of west Cumbria would like to know - is how does that impact on west Cumbrian’s access to emergency care?
“There will undoubtedly be a delay while people make their way from west Cumbria to Carlisle for their emergency surgery."
A spokesman for the Royal College of Nursing welcomed the announcement, claiming the way services are currently run is unsafe for patients.
“Moving the delivery of some more complex parts of the service to the Carlisle site makes sense in clinical terms,” he said.
“While some members of the local community may be understandably concerned at the added journey time, it is better to have a safe, high quality service concentrated at a single site, rather than having expertise spread too thinly.”
The changes are in line with proposals agreed by the ‘Care Closer to Home’ public consultation in 2009 and the NHS Cumbria strategy of 2011, both of which strongly recommended the centralisation of high-risk surgical care.
The trust says that focussing dedicated and permanent surgical teams in Carlisle, which is also a dedicated trauma unit as part of the regional trauma network, will also help reduce the chance of any ongoing complications and provide better continuity of care.
“By expanding this service on one site, available 24 hours a day, seven days per week, for high risk surgical patients, we can ensure our patients have a clinical review sooner and access theatre quicker.
“It has been clinically proven that this will not only improve the outcome for our patients but will also reduce mortality rates, something we know the public expect us to do.”
A new surgical admissions unit has already opened at the Cumberland Infirmary to ensure patients who require immediate surgical intervention are triaged and treated as quickly as possible in an emergency.
This new system is said to already be working well and helping to ease pressure on A&E as high risk surgical patients are admitted straight to a dedicated surgical unit.
Dr David Rogers, lead GP for Copeland and deputy chair of NHS CCG, said: “We will be working closely with North Cumbria to monitor patient outcomes and experience as the changes take place.”
First published at 13:59, Thursday, 05 September 2013
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Yet another nail in the coffin of West Cumbria. We could sail patients from the wonderful Whitehaven Marina to Silloth and then transfer by ambulance to Carlisle Infirmary. Probably be a more comfortable journey than the A595, only problem is it would have to be when the tide is in!
Reduce Mortality Rates?
We shall see! Given previous statistics surgical or otherwise, neither hospital would give me confidence.As Mr Dehbar says "Heaven help us all"
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