2. West, North and East Cumbria
New Plans to be Drawn Up
In October 2018, the chief executives of NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to all STP leaders instructing them to come up with new five year STP plans by autumn 2019.The new five-year plans will replace those which were previously drawn up based on the previous five year funding settlement to 2020-21. The new five year STP will be developed based on a new NHS England budget.
The letter notes that “It will be extremely important that you develop your plans with the proper engagement of all parts of your local systems and that they provide robust and credible solutions for the challenges you will face in caring for your local populations over the next five years.”
NOTE: The information on this page relates to the original STP drawn up in 2016; much of the information is still relevant, however, and is likely to be part of any new STP.
What issues have been raised about this STP?
Health planners are trying to reduce NHS deficits and think about ways to re-organise care. However controlling deficits could prevent facilities being developed that can cope with the health and care social needs of local people.
The end of consultant-led maternity care at West Cumberland Hospital has been proposed.
Downgrading of West Cumberland Hospital so that only low-risk services are available, with Cumberland Infirmary Carlisle providing high risk services.
Merging all acute stroke services into a single hyper-acute unit at Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle.
Bed Cuts proposed at West Cumberland Hospital inpatient unit and eight community hospitals. Reducing bed numbers from 133 to 104.
The changes in the hospitals in this area are of concern due to issues with the ambulance service in the area; the service was ordered to make safety improvements in January 2017 by the Care Quality Commission. One of the major issues was paramedic vacancy rates.
In a letter to hospital bosses, the head of the North West Ambulance service, Derek Cartwright said he does not believe the controversial plans to transfer women more than 40 miles while in labour are clinically safe. The letter also included reservations about plans to centralise maternity consultants in Carlisle, leaving only a midwife-led unit in Whitehaven.