Friday, February 20, 2015

Report on the Torchlit procession - and Trust response

Hundreds of people joined the ‘We Need West Cumberland Hospital’ group on the protest march from Whitehaven town centre to the hospital on Sunday.

Gathered at the hospital, the campaigners then turned out their torches one by one as each of the services whose future is under consideration by the trust was read out.

Also at the hospital, Whitehaven Theatre of Youth sang a parody of "Let It Go."

The procession follows two rallies last year both attended by large numbers of people (estimated at 4,000 on the second occasion) who wanted to voice their concerns about loss of services to Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary.

And there are current proposals being looked at which could see maternity and children’s wards downgraded – it would mean thousands of people having to travel to access hospital care.

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, medical director of North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust, told the Whitehaven News:

“We remain absolutely committed to ensuring that West Cumberland Hospital has a thriving future and continue to work with all partners to ensure we can address longstanding issues and ensure the provision of safe, high quality healthcare services for our patients for many years to come.

“The facts about West Cumberland Hospital speak very clearly for themselves and in the past two years we have seen overall activity increase by seven per cent, this represents over 10,000 more occasions where people have received care in their local hospital.

“This is a trend we want to see continue and is very much our vision for the future, exactly as we have outlined in our draft plans which were published at the end of last year.

“The evidence now also very clearly shows that the important changes made in 2013 to transfer certain high risk surgical patients, in the very best interests of safety, have resulted in more lives from West Cumbria being saved – such vital safety improvements are something which our teams are rightly very proud of.”

He added: “We will continue to be open and transparent with all stakeholders as we move forward on our improvement journey and as we strive to deliver more positive service developments for both our staff and, crucially to give our patients access to the highest possible quality of services that they deserve.”

You can read the full Whitehaven News report at


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