Sunday, September 21, 2008

MRSA cases rise in Cumbria

Although we recently had the welcome news that MRSA infections have been falling in NHS hospitals as a whole, there has been a spike in Cumbria.

I know that the staff at the West Cumberland have been working hard to maintain high standards and keep hospital acquired infections under control but this demonstrates that we cannot afford complacency - and for example, that means that when we debate how many hospital beds are needed we need to ensure that there is enough spare capacity that staff have adequate time to clean beds between patients.

In the three months to June, the there were six MRSA cases at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary and the West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven.

This compares with four cases during the same quarter two years ago. Overall the number of cases has fluctuated over the two-year period, with a high of nine and low of four in any given quarter.

North Cumbria's acute hospitals trust say they are working hard to reduce the spread of infections and have introduced a number of initiatives. Measures launched over the past year include the appointment of two lead matrons for both hospital sites.

They have also appointed a lead hand hygiene nurse, who is developing campaigns to increase awareness, and two specialist infection prevention nurses to deliver specialist training for staff.

Sandy Brown, director of nursing for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Infection Prevention is a top priority in our trust and across the health economy in north Cumbria.

“We place a great deal of emphasis on this issue to ensure that patients feel reassured and that we continue to deliver high quality patient-focused care. We have introduced many new measures in the last 12 months including developing particular infection prevention roles for a large group of staff.”

The trust recently revealed that cases of the more common superbug, C diff, have dropped significantly over the past year. It believes this is a result of improved infection control policies.

Source: Cumbria Newspapers website (article by Anike Bourley).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Copeland Council discusses Mental Health

The relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee at Copeland Council met today to discuss the current NHS consultation on adult mental health services in Cumbria and took evidence from a number of speakers including representatives of West Cumbria carers and of the NHS trust.

The NHS consultation will remain open until 30th September.

Copies of the consultation document can be obtained by ringing 08447 280107 on online at

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

New site for WCH

The issue of the new site for West Cumberland Hospital was discussed this afternoon at Copeland Council. As previously mentioned here and elsewhere a decision is expected by December.

Copeland councillors believe, and it is stated in the Masterplan, that the new hospital should be in Whitehaven.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Carole Heatly takes up the reins at WCH

Carole Heatly, the new chief exec of the trust which runs West Cumberland Hospital and the Cumberland Infirmary, has taken up her post more than a month early. She started work on Monday, even though she had not been due to take over until the end of October.

Ms Heatly's premature arrival is a result of her securing an earlier-than-anticipated release from her previous post, as chief executive of the Kingston Hospital in London. She has now taken over the position formerly held by Marie Burnham as chief executive of the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, previously the acute hospitals trust and will now oversee the running of the Acuute hospitals in both Whitehaven and Carlisle.

She is expected to spend the next few weeks getting to know the two hospitals and meeting her new team.

The source for this information is the Whitehaven News.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Pharmacy consultation begins

A consulation document has been published on the future arrangements for pharmacies and dispensing practices. This concerns the proposals which are likely to affect the Seascale medical practice and may result in the closure of Bootle surgery if they go ahead as planned.

You can find the document online at