Thursday, September 06, 2007

Read the Whitehaven News today

The front page of today's Whitehaven News is largely given over to details of the consultation "Closer to home" about the future of the NHS in Cumbria.

The headline concentrates on the good news - that the preferred option recommends retention of consultant-lead Accident & Emergency, Maternity, and Paediatric services at the West Cumberland Hospital and ultimately at the new hospital proposed to replace it.But as the paper's leading article points out, it is way too early to start celebrating or popping the champagne corks.

The consultation also appears to propose a significantly smaller hospital, with substantially fewer beds and fewer services. The move of complex surgery to Carlisle, which has already taken place without consultation, would be confirmed.

It is not yet clear what level of Intensive Care will be provided or how many beds in the ITU (Intensive Care Unit).

Elderly care after 72 hours seems likely to be removed - some of this will be taken up be boosting the role of Community Hospitals like Millom and Keswick, but as it also appears to be proposed to reduce the number of beds at Community Hospitals by at least a quarter overall, I am concerned about whether all the pictures of the jigsaw fit together.

Overall there seems to be some good news but still some major causes for concern.

I would strongly recommend that anyone in Cumbria who cares about our local NHS should get hold of a copy of the "Closer to Home" consultation document when it comes out in about two weeks, read it very carefully, and respond.


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