Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Feedback from Stroke Workship at Cleator Moor today

I attended the public session at Cleator Moor this afternoon about care for stroke patients in North, West and East Cumbria.

It was a very well attended meeting with more than a hundred people there, indeed it had to be moved from the medium-size room where Local Committee meets to the biggest meeting room in the building.

There were a lot of concerns expressed about transport issues involved in getting patients from West Cumbria to the proposed Hyper-Acute Stroke Unit in Carlisle as quickly as possible..

An assurance was given that the new system will not be implemented until hospital beds, staff, equipment and operating arrangements are all in place.

I hope we can make some progress on addressing some of the issues raised today before that point.

Expension of Kidney services at WCH - more patients to be treated locally

Tomorrow (Wednesday 20th June) marks the official opening of the newly expanded Renal unit at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven (WCH), which will enable more people to receive kidney dialysis treatment closer to home.

To help meet the ever increasing demand for dialysis services, the new unit at WCH has been expanded from seven treatment spaces to 11. The extra four spaces will allow a further 16 people to receive their dialysis treatment in WCH.

The expanded facility, located adjacent to the current unit in the previous maternity ward, will also provide a training room for home haemodialysis to build on the work on self-care dialysis which is ongoing within the unit.

Dr Andrew Bow, clinical director for Renal services, said:

“Nationally, demand for dialysis services is growing at six per cent per annum. The expansion of our services means that far fewer patients will need to travel to Carlisle for their treatment. Dialysis patients attend hospital for their treatment three times per week, so to have a service that suits them closer to home will make a huge difference to their lives.

“We are also working to provide more home haemodialysis care, to further free up capacity for those who require their dialysis in a hospital setting. This offers many benefits to patients who are suitable to undertake their treatment at home. The Home Therapies team currently provide peritoneal dialysis and plan to expand the service to allow patients the additional option of home haemodialysis, avoiding regular trips to the hospital for their treatment.

The North Cumbria Renal unit recently came first out of 56 renal centres for overall patient experience in a national survey about renal care. The survey asked kidney patients a range of questions about their care, including access to a renal team, privacy and dignity, communications, support and decisions about care.

The North Cumbria Home Therapies team were also shortlisted for a Burdett Nursing award for their ongoing dedicated work, securing £4,000 funding for the Trust.

Source: Cumbria Talk here.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Reminder - public workshop on stroke care in two day's time (19th June 2018)

No apologies for a repeat post to remind residents of West Cumbria with an interest in health services that the Stroke Services Working Group of North Cumbria NHS's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is holding public workshops about the provision of care for stroke patients, and the next one is in two day's time.

It will be held in Cleator Moor Civic Hall and Masonic Centre, Jacktrees Road, Cleator Moor, CA25 5AU from 2pm to 4pm on Tuesday afternoon (19th June 2018.)

This is not a consultation about whether or not a Hyper-Acute Stroke Unit should be set up at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. That public consultation has already taken place, eighteen months ago. Whether such a unit should be created was one of the questions asked during the massive public consultation exercise which took place in late 2016 about the "Success Regime" proposals, and following that consultation the decision was taken by the CCG in March 2017 that such a stroke unit should indeed be set up.

This is a workshop held as part of the "working together" programme of meetings to discuss how health care should be delivered in Cumbria, raise issues of concern with the community and consider how they can be addressed. It will be facilitated by the Stroke Association.

Emerging themes from similar workshops held so far have included:
  • The acute phase of the stroke lasts for a short time and the implication and recovery / living life after stroke lasts much longer
  • Concerns about travel for people in west Cumbria
  • Concerns about people in south Copeland / travel times
  • Acknowledging we deserve a modern service 24/7
  • Opportunity to promote prevention and FAST
  • Opportunity to refresh and develop information for people after a stroke which could be ICC specific
  • Pressures on staff within the system at the moment
  • Organisations like the Stroke Association need more support

Details of "working together" meetings on the subject of stroke care and of the activities of the Stroke Services Working Group can be found on the CCG website here.

NHS70 - Carlisle parkrun

A video about the Carlisle Parkrun a couple of weeks ago to celebrate 70 years of the NHS.

£20 billion a year more for the NHS

Theresa May has announced another £20 billion a year of new money - a 3.6% increase in real terms by 2023/4, slightly more than the £350 million a week on the side of a certain bus - for the NHS. 


Friday, June 15, 2018

Visa block on recruitment of foreign doctors and nurses removed

As predicted, doctors and nurses coming from abroad to work in the NHS will be excluded from the cap on so-called "Type 2" Visas.

This is a limit on the number of skilled workers from outside the EU who can be given Visas to come to the UK in any one year. When this was first introduced a few years ago the cap was rarely reached but recently it has been hit and one of the consequences has been to impede the recruitment of foreign doctors and nurses for the NHS, which has been a problem in many parts of the NHS including here in Cumbria.

Following lobbying from many parts of the country including a combined approach from all six MPs representing Cumbria, Home Secretary Sajid Javid agreed to look at this again and this week it has been announced that the government is changing the rules so that medical staff coming to work in the NHS will no longer be affected.

This is great news which will make it easier to recruit the skilled professionals which hospitals like West Cumberland Hospital need.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Stroke care public workshop next week (19 June)

The Stroke Services Working Group of North Cumbria NHS's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is holding a number of public workshops about the provision of care for stroke patients.

The next one is in Cleator Moor Civic Hall and Masonic Centre, Jacktrees Road, Cleator Moor, CA25 5AU from 2pm to 4pm on Tuesday 19th June 2018.

This is not a consultation about whether or not a Hyper-Acute Stroke Unit should be set up at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. That public consultation has already taken place, eighteen months ago. That was one of the questions asked during the massive public consultation exercise which took place in late 2016 about all the "Success Regime" proposals, and following that consultation the decision was taken by the CCG in March 2017 that such a stroke unit should indeed be set up.

This is a workshop held as part of the "working together" programme of meetings to discuss issues of concern with the community and how they can be addressed. It will be facilitated by the Stroke Association.

Emerging themes from similar workshops held so far have included:
  • The acute phase of the stroke lasts for a short time and the implication and recovery / living life after stroke lasts much longer
  • Concerns about travel for people in west Cumbria
  • Concerns about people in south Copeland / travel times
  • Acknowledging we deserve a modern service 24/7
  • Opportunity to promote prevention and FAST
  • Opportunity to refresh and develop information for people after a stroke which could be ICC specific
  • Pressures on staff within the system at the moment
  • Organisations like the Stroke Association need more support

Details of "working together" meetings on the subject of stroke care and of the activities of the Stroke Services Working Group can be found on the CCG website here.

Parkrun results

Over the UK as a whole during an amazing NHS Parkrun weekend there were 152,011 people who completed the 5,000 metres courses (including those who ran, jogged or walked it) and 15,154 volunteers who helped organise more than 350 NHS Parkrun events.

They'd hoped to have 85,000 people involved so that is an absolutely amazing turnout

Saturday, June 09, 2018

NHS Staff vote to accept pay deal

NHS staff have voted to accept a pay deal with increases ranging from 6.5% to 29% with some of the largest increases targeted on the lowest paid.

Richly deserved and let's hope this will help us both recruit more of the extra staff we need and retain the excellent staff we already have.

Congratulations to all who organised or took part in today's NHS70 Parkrun

The 70th birthday celebrations for the NHS began this morning in fine style with NHS 70 Parkruns around the country.

This was a Cumbrian initiative which went National: here is Nicola Jackson who had the idea and was the director for this morning's event in Carlisle - one of hundreds of such events around the country.


There were about 360 participants in the Carlisle Parkrun this morning, supported by a large number of wonderful volunteers who prepared and stewarded the event and provided water and cake afterwards!

As I explained in previous posts, the advice was to "Run, jog or walk" according to what is appropriate for your own health, and I had not done any running for forty years - my sport is swimming - so I decided to walk the 5,000 metre course, which took me an hour and three minutes. I finished about two minutes behind one of the local NHS's clinical directors and two minutes ahead of another, both of whom had also decided to walk (no names, no pack drill) though the chairman of the CCG and the County Council's director of public health managed to run the event!

My wife suggested that if I was going to walk the course I should have put a bag with 200 leaflets on my shoulder and mimed putting one through a letter box every 25 metres and it would have been exactly like the exercise I got most evenings during the three election campaigns which took up the first half of last year (except that Chance Park in Carlisle is a lot flatter than much of Copeland!)

Superb event and congratulations to all those who took part and to Nicola and all the organisers and volunteers.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Reminder - ParkRun tomorrow to celebrate 70 years of the NHS

Don't forget the NHS 70th anniversary Park Run tomorrow, a Cumbria initiative which has gone national.

For more details of the ParkRun events for NHS70, go to the NHS England NHS70 website at

https://www.england.nhs.uk/2018/05/dame-kelly-holmes-backs-parkrun-for-the-nhss-70-birthday-on-june-9-to-get-the-nation-active/

You don't actually have to run (especially if it is still this hot in Cumbria) you can walk, run or just turn up to join the start of the celebrations commemorating 70 years of the NHS.

NHS70 Parkruns in Cumbria are taking place in venues including Carlisle, Penrith and Millom.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Walk, jog or run to celebrate 70 years of the NHS this Saturday

The NHS 70th anniversary Park Run this Saturday (9th June 2018) is a Cumbria initiative which has gone national.

You don't actually have to run (especially if it is still this hot in Cumbria) you can walk, run or just turn up to join the start of the celebrations commemorating 70 years of the NHS.

NHS70 events in Cumbria are taking place in venues including Carlisle, Penrith and Millom.