Thursday, January 03, 2008

Cumbria County Cabinet on "Closer to Home"

The County Council cabinet is among those who are expressing concern at certain aspects of the "Closer to Home" proposals, particularly the cut in the numbers of beds.

I know that their fears are shared both by some GPs in West Cumbria and by some of the hospital consultants at the West Cumberland. One GP has pointed out to his colleagues that if the proposals go ahead the West Cumberland will be trying to treat over 40% of inpatient acute cases in North Cumbria with fewer than 30% of the acute beds.

An extract from a draft letter to be considered at the Cumbria County cabinet on 8th January reads as follows:

“The changes signal a considerable change to the size and scope of the acute beds at West Cumberland Hospital. We would wish to be reassured that sufficient capacity was retained to meet modern demands for acute care across two sites.”

Under the Trust’s plan, the West Cumberland Hospital would keep its accident and emergency unit but a trauma centre at The Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, would deal with life-threatening cases.

County Councillors, rightly in my view, have doubts about that too. Their draft letter says: “There are concerns about journey times for emergency ambulances, particularly from more westerly and southerly parts of north Cumbria. For patients admitted to the Cumberland Infirmary, there are also very real concerns regarding public transport arrangements and journey times for the relatives. The needs of West Cumbria need to be very carefully considered in this context.”

The letter adds: “There is a particular need to address and be clear about the level of emergency care at West Cumberland Hospital, to minimise the number of patients who will need to go to Carlisle.”

(The Whitehaven News and the News and Star was the source for the information in this post about the views of County Councillors. My comments to the effect that many local doctors share those concerns are based both on views expressed by doctors at meetings which I have attended and on documents provided by doctors to close colleagues.)


Post a Comment

<< Home