Monday, August 20, 2007

Fight for our District General Hospitals

West Cumberland Hospital is one of 29 District General Hospitals on a list published today by the Conservative party as being in danger of losing it's maternity service, A&E, or both.

Every resident of West Cumbria knows that this is not just scaremongering and it is not just the Conservatives who have expressed this fear. The future of Maternity Services in West Cumbria has been under review for several years. An excellent and broad based campaign "Don't Move Our Mums" has been fighting to avoid the situation where large numbers of women would have to travel forty miles over single carriageway roads to Carlisle to give birth.

The latest consultation document from the Cumbria NHS, "Close to Home" is due to be launched on or about 19th September. It is extremely important that everyone who cares about our local health service takes part in the debate on that consultation document.

The uncertainty about our local hospitals in Cumbria can be seen against a natioanl backdrop of redundancies, service closures, and in which a new NHS minister Ara Darzi, has said that ‘The days of the district general hospital…are over.'

Of £39 billion of spending commitments made byGordon Brown since becoming Prime Minister, none have so far been directed at the NHS. And since becoming Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson’s sole achievement has been to set up an 11 month review of the NHS.

Commenting, David Cameron said:

"The basic point here is we believe the district general hospital is a key part of the NHS.

"People have put money into the NHS, they've paid increased taxes and they want to see their district general hospital improve.

"People simply do not understand why maternity units and accident and emergency units are being shut down when accident and emergency admissions are up and births are up."

"That's why I say the Government can expect a bare-knuckle fight with us over the next few weeks and months about saving district general hospitals as a key part of the local NHS."


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