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'We want two consultant-led maternity units in North Cumbria'

One of the people in charge of commissioning health services for Cumbria has told ITV Border he wants to keep a consultant-led maternity unit at the West Cumberland Hospital.

Last week the Trust which runs the hospital published a series of options including downgrading maternity services in Whitehaven. An independent review is due to take place in November. Katie Hunter reports:

A spokesperson for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “In recent weeks the Trust has been criticised for not being open and transparent. By publishing our draft clinical options appraisal, which we have made clear is subject to further discussion and engagement, we can now have a honest and open dialogue with all of our stakeholders about how we can collectively address the serious challenges we face.

“We have been discussing the challenges detailed in the document with the NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group throughout 2014 and as part of the NHS five year planning requirement, therefore the CCG were fully aware of what the document would contain.

“Although the Trust has discussed potential future solutions for our maternity service, particularly to help address the critical safety issues with regard to anaesthetic cover, no preferred option has been stated and all potential solutions are fully dependent on the outcome of the independent maternity review which was commissioned by NHS Cumbria CCG. We await the outcome of the review and the subsequent commissioning decision which will be made as a result."

Pop star Emeli Sande backs West Cumberland Hospital

Pop star Emeli Sande has joined the high-profile campaign to save under-threat services at the West Cumberland Hospital.

The award-winning singer/songwriter publicly backed the cuts protest after visiting the county to see family, some of who live in west Cumbria. She used her Twitter account to express her support for the We Need West Cumberland Hospital campaign to her 1.2m followers.

She also joined the group’s Thunderclap campaign, which yesterday saw supporters simultaneously tweet a link to the We Need West Cumberland Hospital Facebook page to almost 2 million people across the world.

The group is fighting to save services including consultant-led maternity, which could be centralised in Carlisle.


World Stroke Day 2014: women and stroke

Today marks World Stroke Day and this year's theme highlights the impact of stroke on women.

One in eight women in the UK wrongly believes that a stroke could never happen to them, according to the findings of a poll published today by The Stroke Association.

Around 30,000 women die from a stroke every year. The condition is the third leading cause of death in women in the UK, and the second biggest killer worldwide.

“It’s extremely worrying that most women don’t even have stroke on their radar. We know that women’s stroke risk significantly increases as they get older, and one in five women will have a stroke in their lifetime.

“This should serve as a wake-up call to women of all ages to be aware and better informed of the steps they can take to reduce their stroke risk. Simple lifestyle changes, such as keeping blood pressure under control, exercising regularly and stopping smoking, could significantly lower women’s likelihood of having a stroke.”

– Elaine Roberts, Director of Life After Stroke Services at the Stroke Association

The charity’s latest poll commissioned to mark World Stroke Day, uncovers widespread misconceptions about stroke amongst women. The findings, based on a UK-wide survey of 2,000 adults, show that:

  • Three quarters of women (74%) did not know that stroke is one of the world’s biggest killers.
  • Less than a third of women (28%) said they thought they would be most likely to have a stroke as they got older.

“These results highlight there’s still more to do to make women aware a stroke could happen to them. As women get older, their risk significantly increases and one in five women will have a stroke in their lifetime. Women have more strokes than men and there are a number of stroke risk factors unique to women, including pregnancy, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy."

– Andrea Cail, Director Scotland at The Stroke Association

Mortality rates down at North Cumbria hospitals

Changes at North Cumbrian hospitals are saving lives, according to North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Two years ago the Trust was recorded as having one of the highest mortality rates in England, and in 2013 it was visited by a review team who suggested a number of changes.

But since then, it says mortality rates at North Cumbrian hospitals have dropped. The most drastic reductions have been for people suffering from life threatening heart problems, who are now treated at the Heart Centre in Carlisle, as well as patients with broken hips.

"Our teams have been through a lot of change in the past 18 months but it is down to their sheer dedication and commitment to make things better for our patients that we have not only saved more lives but also given patients a better chance of making a fuller recovery and going on to live longer and healthier lives. This is something that each and every member of staff should be very proud of.

"We are under no illusions, however, that there is still a long way for us to go on our improvement journey.

"Our priority, quite understandably, was to focus first and foremost on fixing the very immediate problems related to mortality, but we still have much further to go to make the experience of care for our patients as good, if not better, than the best of the NHS."

– Dr Jeremy Rushmer, Medical Director

'I WON'T Survive': West Cumberland Hospital protest video

Adrian Davis-Johnston was born at West Cumberland Hospital. Credit: ITV Border

'I Won't Survive' is the message from a man from Great Broughton, who's concerned about some services at West Cumberland Hospital being downgraded.

Adrian Davis-Johnston's performed a parody of Gloria Gaynor's 1970s hit 'I Will Survive'.

It's already got nearly 3,000 views.

Radiographers strike over pay

Radiographers use x-rays to examine patients. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Radiographers at hospitals across the region are due to go on strike today for the first time in more than 30 years, in a dispute over pay.

They'll stop work for four hours and carry out further industrial action for the rest of the week.

It comes a week after other members of the NHS went out on strike over the same issue.

Cumberland Infirmary walked out at 9 o'clock this morning for four hours Credit: ITV News Border


Health summit in West Cumbria

A health summit has taken place in Allerdale to address concerns regarding health provisions in West Cumbria.

Representatives from a whole range of health organisations and businesses attended the meeting at Lakes College in Workington.

The leader of Allerdale Borough Council Alan Smith says he is dedicated to pushing this through to keep services in West Cumbria.

Hundreds of thousands of views for Chloe Kacedan's video

Chloe Kacedan from Lochmaben says she had no idea the video would be seen all over the world and hopes it inspires other suffers.

"This is a video I made in the hope that it'll help people to open up about Mental Illness and feel less ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it. I know it's no cure, but if it helps at least one person then it has done it's job. Stop the stigma surrounding Mental Illness and raise awareness. If you would like to ... then please share"

– Chloe Kacedan
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