As we all know, services at West Cumberland Hospital are under threat. This is just one of a catalogue of ‘downgrading’ indignities this community in West Cumbria is having to face.
At a time when services should be expanding to cater for the proposed new Moorside nuclear power station, and the huge influx of contractors which will undoubtedly arrive, we are getting cuts. Short-sighted cuts. Penny-pinching cuts. Cuts which are dressed up as ‘efficiency’ and ‘improving services’ but are usually simply about cost.
How can moving maternity services to Carlisle, another 38 miles from Whitehaven and at least one hour in even the lightest traffic (without the rush hour and any roadworks), possibly be helpful to newborns and their mothers? Midwives are up in arms about it, and Jamie Reed the Copeland MP has himself been refused details of the £1.2 million spent on consultancy fees in the financial year 2015-2016. 1.2 million in fees which could have been spent on services instead.
How is it that there are problems recruiting nurses to Cumbria? A news report in March 2016 estimated there were 800 inactive nursing staff in the county. There could be any number of reasons for this, including caring for elderly relatives and health issues, but how many of those inactive staff could be returned to work? Does anyone know?
Could it be that they don’t wish to return as a result being disenchanted with the management of the profession and the hospitals in Cumbria?
Those running nursing courses say the course are oversubscribed, by a factor of up to 10 applicants per place. But this doesn’t seem to translate into feet on the ground. Copeland’s average housing costs are some of the cheapest in the country, so smaller homes should be well within the reach of a qualified nurse.
Last but not least, if the County can’t recruit the trained staff it wants, it should put more effort into training nurses and ensuring that its culture and practices encourage people to remain. Getting them in is one thing, but keeping them is where the hard work starts.
Well your last chance to hear what Cumbria’s health bosses have to say on WCH is:
6.30pm, 30th November at the Falcon Club, Croadella Avenue, Egremont CA22 2QN
It probably won’t change a single thing. They probably don’t give two hoots what the people think. We suspect the plans which have been drawn up will be implemented whatever lip service is paid to ‘consultation’. This is unlikely to be true consultation, it’s appeasement. Appeasement designed to make people believe their views actually count.
Having said that, attending the meeting does give you the opportunity to blast them with both barrels and tell them what you really think.
What is a life worth? Ask the health bosses.
£1.2 million spent on consultancy by health bosses (News and Star)
Health bosses failing to listen to fears (News and Star)
Health bosses face public grilling (ITV)
Midwives warn ‘mothers will die’ (ITV)
Pram push highlights impact of hospital cuts (Whitehaven News)