NEW doctors recruited from India are helping to tackle staffing issues at hospitals in north and west Cumbria.

The North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has been struggling to fill posts at both the West Cumberland Hospital and Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary for some time.

This is partly due to a national shortage of doctors, making it particularly difficult for smaller hospitals to recruit.

To tackle this, NHS chiefs have been working with the local community to look at new ways to attract and retain staff - especially doctors to work in maternity and paediatric services.

It has now been recognised that progress has been made in this area, resulting in an independent review panel backing calls to safeguard consultant-led maternity in Whitehaven long term.

This has included recruiting doctors from India to work at West Cumberland Hospital.

Kevin Windebank, a senior paediatrician who was part of the independent review process, said he was impressed. “Maternity services need paediatric services to support them,” he explained.

“At a time of national shortage of paediatricians, the work the trust is doing to recruit should be recognised. It’s a novel approach and it’s fair to say the rest of the country will be watching.

“It’s vitally important that the community stay involved in supporting doctors and staff.”

The efforts of maternity and paediatric staff in Whitehaven and trust bosses was also praised by decision makers.