Friday, June 17, 2011

Time to honour West Cumberland Hospital bed promises

When the "Closer To Home" review of hospital and health services in Cumbria took place, pressure from local medical staff, patients and residents secured a slight increase in the number of beds retained at West Cumberland Hospital - an a promise that the number of beds against usage would be kept under review and increased if it was shown to be inadequate.

It's time to have a very serious look at the number of beds currently available against what is needed.

One of the front page headlines in yesterday's Whitehaven News read

"Hospital's bed shortage leaves patients waiting in ambulances."

The article begins

"A shortage of available beds at West Cumberland Hospital has led to some emergency patients having to termporarily wait outside in ambulances.

"And on one occasion nine patients were said to have to sleep overnight in the A&E department because there were no spare beds on the wards.

"The problem is not down to staff shortages in the hospital's A&E deparment, The Whitehaven News understands, but a lack of available beds. Without free beds patients cannot be moved out of A&E and onto the wards."

(You can read the full article by Gillian Ellison "here.)

I am seriously concerned by this situation, which cannot be allowed to continue. The demand for West Cumberland Hospital beds against availability must be carefully checked and if this situation is not found to be a one-off, then the number of beds at WCH must be increased. This is, after all, what we were promised at the time of Closer to Home.