Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Strong turnout at Whitehaven NHS public meeting

I have just returned from the "success regime" public meeting about proposals for our local NHS held at the URC church in Whitehaven.

Despite the filthy weather there was a very respectable turnout at the meeting.

A lot of excellent points were raised from the floor by local residents and employees of the NHS who were concerned about the need to maintain local services. The largest single concern was about the need for a consultant-led maternity unit at West Cumberland Hospital (WCH) though stroke care, paediatrics, and other services were also discussed.

In particular it was argued by many people (including me) that the journey time to Carlisle for those mothers who require urgent intervention, such as those needing what are called "crash caesareans" poses too great a risk to those mothers and their babies.

The NHS representatives acknowledged that this risk would exist under their proposals and said that they are trying to balance different risks. They said there is no ideal option (a point on which I accept that they are right) and added that they would like to retain consultant-lead maternity at WCH if they can see a safe and sustainable way to do it.

This means that the challenge for us as a community is to convince them that it can be done.

I hope I am right when I say that I did get the impression that the Trust/Success Regime representatives were genuinely listening. But we have to keep up the pressure.


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