Thursday, October 02, 2008

No hospital decision likely this year

The impression had been given, and reported both here and in the local media, that a decision on the future site of the hospital in West Cumbria would be taken by December this year. It now appears that it will take longer than that.

A meeting of the Children, Young Peopl,e and Families scrutiny committee of Copeland Council today heard a presentation from representatives of NHS Cumbria.

The most interesting thing to come out of the discussion is that it now appears to be impossible for a final decision on the site of the hospital in Whitehaven to be taken in 2008.

Cabinet office rules will require a full consultation lasting at least 12 weeks - possibly longer if it runs over Christmas, followed by consideration of the points made by doctors, nurses, other staff, and the patients and public. From the start of the consultation to the decision is likely to take four months, and the PCT is not in a position to start the consultation just yet (though I have heard informally that it will not be too long.) So if - and it is a big if - there are no significant further delays we are probably looking at a decision in February or March.


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