Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Next Working Together Steering Group Meeting

The next "working together" steering group meeting about delivering healthcare in North, West and East Cumbria, which is not merely open to the public but in which anyone can participate, will be held tomorrow (Wednesday 18th April) from 6pm to 8pm.

The venue is the Samuel Lindow Building at Westlakes (just off the A595 between Whitehaven and Moor Row: the postcode is CA24 3JY.)

The agenda can be found on the North Cumbria NHS website here. Among the important items on this agenda is the 12 month trial period which has now started (at the beginning of this month) for the reconfigures consultant-led maternity service at West Cumberland Hospital.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Pay rise for NHS staff announced

Our NHS staff work incredibly hard, day in, day out, throughout the country.

So it is great news that Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt was yesterday able to confirm that NHS staff including nurses, midwives, cleaners and porters will receive a pay rise of between 6.5% and 29%.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Five new medical schools to open

This comment by the head of Health Education England is in response to the announcement yesterday that five new medical schools are opening their doors to student doctors starting this September - in Sunderland, Lancashire, Canterbury, Lincoln and Chelmsford.

One of the key factors in keeping our hospital services open in Cumbria is the medical staff to run them, so the fact that Britain is finally addressing the need to train more doctors, after decades of neglect of this problem under governments in which all the major parties have taken part, is really excellent news.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Nominate your NHS hero for an award

To mark its 70th anniversary the NHS is organising a series of awards for NHS heroes, for which nominations can be put forward through local MPs until 23rd March.

We are incredibly fortunate to  have many fantastic people in Cumbria’s NHS doing great work on behalf of patients.

Whether they are doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and paramedics, midwives, dentists or the unsung heroes in other roles, our hospitals and GP and dental practices and other services are full of caring, hard-working people who often make incredible efforts to care for the sick and vulnerable, sometimes in very difficult circumstances.
Just to give one of the many, many examples of people in Cumbria’s health service who go way beyond the call of duty, Lisa Cairns, a matron in theatres and anaesthetics, walked for three hours through the snow on Saturday to get to work.
There are many other wonderful people like Lisa in our NHS.

We should be grateful to every one of them and thank them for what they do. The 70th anniversary awards scheme is an opportunity for us all to do this.
Anyone in Copeland who wants to nominate a health worker for an award can do so through Trudy Harrison MP before 23rd March. Details of the scheme are available at

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Archbishop of York to open stroke unit at WCH

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will be visiting West Cumberland Hospital next week to open the stroke unit in the name of Professor Olu Orugan, (pictured below) former stroke consultant in West Cumbria, who sadly died last year. As part of his visit, the Archbishop is hoping to meet, greet, and encourage staff and patients at the West Cumberland Hospital.

Professor Olu Orugun was a much revered consultant at the Trust and is sadly missed by all who knew him. Olu worked tirelessly to improve the health of the people of Cumbria and the staff who worked with him wanted a lasting legacy to remember his hard work and dedication.

The Archbishop is in Cumbria for the four-day mission entitled Moving Mountains.. This is an ecumenical mission from Thursday 8 March to Sunday 11 March involving the Church of England, the Methodist Church, the Salvation Army and the United Reformed Church with hundreds of local events taking place.

The Archbishop will arrive at 5pm on Friday 9 March. There will be opportunity to meet and chat with him from around 5.30pm in the Costa Coffee area of West Cumberland Hospital.

Revd Simon Cake, chaplain at West Cumberland Hospital for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said:

“This is a huge honour for the Trust and it’s fantastic that the Archbishop is making a visit here. I know he is keen to speak to as many staff, patients and visitors as possible so please make yourself known to him.

“People who come into hospital for treatment can be facing huge changes and it’s important that the chaplaincy team is there to offer support to complement the brilliant medical work and offer a listening ear to peoples’ problems or anxieties." 

Paul Mead, renal consultant at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said:

“Professor Orugun worked tirelessly to better the health of the people of Cumbria and was a real ambassador for the Trust. He was a much respected consultant and was liked by everyone he came into contact with. He was hugely popular with staff and patients and the work he put into the Trust will be a lasting legacy to the people of west Cumbria.

“It’s a real testament to the man he was that so many of the staff here at West Cumberland Hospital wanted to do something in his memory and he would honoured that the Archbishop is opening the unit in his name.”

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Tonight's "Working together" meeting cancelled due to snow

Due to adverse weather conditions (e.g. roads not being safe in parts of the county due to heavy snow and police advice not to travel) the NHS "Working Together" steering group meeting which had been due to take place at Allerdale House, Workington at 6pm this evening HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

The meeting will be rescheduled and notice of the new date, time and venue given in the near future.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Cumbria Health Scrutiny meeting

I spent much of today at the Cumbria Health Scrutiny meeting in Carlisle.

I will have more to write this week about what was an extremely interesting meeting, for which the  full agenda including reports is available here.

As a taster, here are what the Morecombe Bay NHS (covering an area which includes South Cumbria and part of Lancashire) describes as "The five hard truths" which they are seeking to address and about which they have started a process of "public engagement."

(They are not, incidentally, at this stage making any definitive proposals to deal with this and do not expect to put forward any service closures or redundancies when they do put such proposals forward.)

"The five hard truths are:

1. Too much of the NHS budget is now spent on treating a number of health conditions that are largely preventable and some of these issues lie outside the NHS. We are spending on ‘cure’ and ‘follow up’ rather than prevention.

2. Despite an active recruitment drive the recruitment of clinical staff is challenging, especially in some specialties in the hospital, in community services and in general practice. We spend significant amounts of money on locums, agency staff and have to pay over the odds’ for staff to provide ‘fragile services’ in Morecambe Bay

3. The best bed is often your own bed –for some people being in hospital can lead to deterioration in health e.g. muscle wastage. Some people`s length of stay in a hospital bed is longer than the national average. We also know that there will always be people who do need to be in hospital.

4. The demand on all health and care services continues to increase e.g. on GPs, on community nurses etc. “winter pressures” are often faced all year round. At home not everyone in Morecambe Bay has easy access to transport, good living conditions, or care and support from family and friends. For those family and friend who are carers looking after vulnerable people, this can cause pressure and in turn affect their health.

5. There are areas of waste and duplicated spend in some areas e.g. variations in prescribing, spending on running duplicate clinical and ‘back office’ services across many sites and different buying processes. "

More detailed report on the meeting to follow.