Theresa May slams the Labour Party in Cumbria for “scaremongering” about future healthcare proposals for West Cumberland Hospital. – By Melissa Darcy (NHS Editor)


Theresa May slams the Labour Party in Cumbria for “scaremongering” about future healthcare proposals for West Cumberland Hospital.

In England our NHS has been divided up into 44 “footprints” or regions and the NHS as we know it is undergoing some major reconfigurations known as Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) and The Five Year Forward View (5YFV) in order to make £22 billion worth of “efficiency savings” (CUTS).
Footprint number 2 is West, North and East Cumbria which consists of two acute hospitals West Cumberland Hospital (Whitehaven) and Cumberland Infirmary (Carlisle). Currently both of these acute hospitals have a fully functioning A&E department which receive “Blue-light” ambulances and GP admissions with support of inpatient beds, short stay and outpatients whilst more specialised cases are sent to Newcastle.

In the West, North and East Cumbria STP consultation document – The Future of Healthcare; the preferred option for “Urgent and Emergency Care” is to maintain a 24 hour provision at both hospitals with specialist cases going to Cumberland Infirmary and a 24 hour service available at West Cumberland but with a DIFFERENT WORKFORCE. A change in workforce at West Cumberland Hospital would mean that you would no longer be treated by a consultant or registrar, instead you would be seen by an Advanced Clinical Practitioner and while they may be good at their job they cannot provide the same “Life saving” specialist healthcare that a consultant or middle grade registrar can.
This change in workforce therefore means that the A&E at West Cumberland Hospital will no longer be level 1 consultant led, it will be a level 3 A&E which some may know as an Urgent Care Centre.

Tory candidate opposes the downgrade of maternity services at West Cumberland Hospital but Theresa May avoided confirming whether she opposed the proposal – is this because she knows that the proposal will go ahead in the next few months??

Currently there is a consultant led maternity unit at West Cumberland and Cumberland Infirmary, both have special care baby units and antenatal and postnatal care.
In 2015-2016 there were 1791 births at Cumberland Infirmary and 1234 births at West Cumberland which makes them two of the smallest consultant led maternity units in England. The preferred option for the future of maternity services are for West Cumberland to become a stand alone midwifery led unit for “low risk” births with all other births having to go to Cumberland Infirmary. This has been done in other areas of the country before and has statistically shown an increase in baby mortality rates in those areas – Grantham in Lincolnshire being one of many.

With all that in mind how can Theresa May go on National Television and say that the Labour party are “scaremongering” people?? It seems to me like they are preparing people for what is coming…..isn’t it about time the Tory government did the same???

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