2. West, North and East Cumbria

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.

Proposed changes

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.

Growing Concerns

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.