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Bid launched to prevent smoking in cars when children are present

South of Scotland's MSP is formally launching his bid to prevent smoking in cars when there are children present.

Jim Hume wants youngsters to have the best start in life and believes banning smoking around them in cars will help.

He already has cross party support and a number of Scotland's biggest charities have backed his campaign.

. Credit: ITV Border News

Concern over Westmorland General maternity changes

South Lakes MP Tim Farron says staff changes at the Helme Chase maternity unit in Kendal will be "intolerable for local mums".

Until recently the unit was staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Now, midwives are are on call from home overnight and at weekends.

Morecambe Bay NHS Trust says the changes mean there will be a more flexible service, but not everyone agrees.

Katie Hunter reports:

Mum's concern over maternity changes

Anna Rockliffe gave birth to her son Finley ay Helme Chase maternity unit in Kendal on Friday 5th December.

He was born at 2pm but Anna and Finley had to leave the hospital at 8pm because the unit now operates an on-call system overnight and at weekends.

Anna Rockliffe with son Finley Credit: ITV Border News

"At first I was kind of thinking it was OK but I had a very quick labour and I felt quite well for an hour after but I think the adrenalin wore off and then I started to feel very unwell and very tired and not ready to leave and I would have liked to stay in but the new changes meant that I couldn't because I was classed as medically fit and well I was just tired basically."

– Anna Rockliffe

Weekend one of the busiest for North West Ambulance Service

North West Ambulance Service Credit: ITV Border News

North West Ambulance Service says last weekend was one of the busiest in its history.

Almost 27% more 999 calls were made, in Cumbria and Lancashire, than the same weekend last year.

That's compared to a rise of 18.4% across the whole North West.

And the number of life threatening incidents they were called to was up by a more than a third.

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Cumbria NHS team win award for dermatology services

Cumbria Medical Services NHS has won ‘Clinical Team of the Year for Dermatology’ at the National General Practice Awards held in London on Thursday 20th November.

The awards aim to highlight the excellent and innovative work that is carried out by health care professionals to improve patient care across the UK.

The team were also finalists in the ‘Practice Manager of the Year’ and the ‘Innovators of the Year’ categories, out of hundreds of entries.

“We are very pleased to have received this award which recognises the hard work of the whole team. A lot of work and co-ordination has gone into delivering this service at so many sites and patient feedback has been very encouraging. We hope to continue to develop services closer to home and wish to thank the various practices and community hospitals for accommodating us.”

– Dr Chaudri, Cumbria Medical Services NHS

“I am really pleased to see such an innovative local service recognised in a positive way and at a national level. This award is really important for the community as it confirms the service is hugely successful with great benefits for patients not having too travel far to receive treatment. Well done to everyone involved for creating a valuable dermatology service for the people of Cumbria and for winning such well recognised award.”

– Medical Director for NHS Cumbria CCG, David Rogers

Controversy about Helme Chase maternity changes

Westmorland General Hospital Credit: ITV Border News

The Helme Chase maternity unit at the Westmorland General Hospital is now operating an on-call midwife service overnight and at weekends.

Women can still give birth at the hospital 24 hours a day but if they are admitted overnight they will be sent home once they and their babies are "medically fit".

“In recent days I have been contacted by lots of parents, mums to be and others who are deeply concerned about these changes. I have some big concerns about these changes and I have made them known to the Chief Executive of the Trust and I will keep doing so! I worry about this new service, especially at night.

“I have pushed the trust to make sure the unit stays open and that women will continue to be able to give birth at Helme Chase 24 hours a day, seven days a week. My children were born at Helme Chase and I will do everything I can to protect it.”

– MP Tim Farron

"Over the past three years, we have heavily invested in our maternity and children’s services, and have successfully recruited a large number of midwives, qualified children’s nurses, and support workers. Due to significant further investment, we now have further vacancies across our hospitals. We are working hard to try to fill these vacancies with the right people.

"Whilst we are dealing with this proactively to ensure that our service remains safe and effective, we do need the added flexibility that this change in shift pattern at Helme Chase will provide us with. Offering an out of hours on-call maternity service at Helme Chase will allow us to use the workforce we have more flexibly to support the service wherever it is needed. For example, if a midwife is on-call one night, they would not be on the rota for a shift the following day in case they are called out overnight. If they are not called out during the night, they will be able to work within one of the other units the following day, dependent on where they were needed."

– A spokesperson for Morecambe Bay Trust

Borders biking brings in a million

TweedLove Bike festival in the Borders is aimed at all ages Credit: ITV Border

More than a million pounds has been brought in to the Scottish Borders economy by two major cycling events held earlier this year.

TweedLove Bike Festival, which was held in May, and the Tour O’ The Borders which took place in August, had a combined direct economic impact to the region of £1.7 million. Both were based around the Tweed Valley town of Peebles.

“We’re delighted with this level of success”, says company director Neil Dalgleish. “The events have been recognised as a success at an international level, and visitors have gone home very impressed with our bike trails and our incredible cycling community. There’s something really special happening here.”

Dates for next year’s events have now been released, TweedLove Bike Festival will run from 17 to 31 May, 2015, with the Tour O The Borders, a closed road sportive event, to be held on August 9.

Announcement for consultant-led maternity units report

Health chiefs have confirmed that an independent report on consultant-led maternity units in Cumbria will not be published until February.

Nigel Maguire, Chief Officer for the NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group made the announcement at the first meeting of a health forum in Whitehaven.

He also said there would be a consultation on any significant changes to health services at the West Cumberland Hospital next summer.

Campaigners fear health bosses want to transfer some services from the West Cumberland Hospital to Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary.

The two hospitals are in special measures and the North Cumbria Hospitals NHS Trust that runs them is suffering from a deficit of around £30 million a year.

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