Cumbrian ambulance boss warns maternity transfer plans are ‘not clinically safe’

Ambulance boss Derek Cartright does not believe controversial plans to transfer women more than 40 miles while in labour are clinically safe, the News & Star can exclusively reveal.

He also claims transfer times quoted by the Success Regime have been underestimated, that the proposals fail to meet vital guidance on emergency caesareans and even states that paramedics could refuse to transport patients if they felt it unsafe.

The News & Star has seen a copy of a letter sent by Mr Cartwright, chief executive of the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, to the Success Regime raising these concerns.

It is dated December 19, the final day of the Healthcare for the Future public consultation over its controversial plans to cut services and beds across north and west Cumbria.

NWAS is technically part of the Success Regime, with some of its senior staff sitting on the panel during public meetings.

But Mr Cartwright’s letter reveals that the ambulance service does not support all of the preferred options put forward – and has particular reservations about the plan to centralise maternity consultants in Carlisle, leaving only a midwife-led unit in Whitehaven.

Full story in The News & Star, 9 February 2017