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Decision day for Cumbrian health services

Campaigners are fighting to save hospital beds Credit: ITV Border

Councillors are meeting today to discuss the future of health services in Cumbria.

It comes two weeks after health bosses announced inpatient beds at three cottage hospitals will close.

Last week Cumbria County Council leader Stewart Young said the loss of beds in Alston, Wigton and Maryport should be halted until alternative solutions are in place and fully funded.

Now Cumbria County Council's health scrutiny committee will decide whether to accept or reject the decision and is also being urged to oppose plans to treat seriously sick children in Carlisle rather than west Cumbria.

The panel of district and county councillors has the power to refer the matter to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

'Health summit' over controversial bed closures

There have been protests over the closures. Credit: ITV Border

A 'health summit' has been organised in west Cumbria today in response to controversial plans to close hospital beds.

NHS bosses are axing all inpatient beds at Wigton, Maryport and Alston hospitals.

The summit in Lillyhall has been organised by Allerdale Borough Council to give people the chance to ask questions about the impact of closures.

Audience at the health summit Credit: ITV Border

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Health bosses 'keen to collaborate' with council over bed closures

Some of the region's community hospitals will lose beds. Credit: PA

Health bosses say they are "keen to collaborate" with Cumbria County Council, over the closure of beds at the county's community hospitals.

The NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group released a statement, after the leader of the council called for urgent talks over the plans, which will see the loss of beds in Alston, Wigton and Maryport.

The CCG looks forward to receiving business cases on the alternative proposals for Alston, Wigton and Maryport and strongly supports the continued close working with local communities on this.

We are very grateful to the local community groups and local staff who have led this work over the last six months, and are committed to working with the communities of Alston, Maryport and Wigton, and with Cumbria County Council and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, to support this initiative over the coming months.

NHS Cumbria CCG is particularly keen to collaborate with Cumbria County Council and build on their experience of community engagement. Full consideration will be given to the re-investment of any savings realised from the changes approved by the Governing Body and we are very clear that unless we have to, for safety and operational reasons, we will not be closing beds until we have completed this work and have robust alternative services are in place.

– Stephen Childs, Chief Executive of NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group

Maryport hospital campaigners to meet over bed closures

Protests have been held outside the hospital. Credit: ITV Border

Campaigners fighting to save Maryport's community hospital are meeting tonight to discuss future plans for the unit.

It follows a decision taken by the Success Regime - the government-appointed body in charge of improving healthcare in Cumbria - to close all 13 beds there.

The Save Our Beds campaign is putting forward their own proposals to health bosses in a bid to stop the beds from being removed.

The meeting takes place this evening at the Ewanrigg Community Centre.

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Carlisle MP praises 'sensible' decision on maternity services in west Cumbria

Credit: ITV Border

Carlisle MP John Stevenson has welcomed the launch of the professionally-led review into maternity services in Cumbria.

West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven will keep consultant-led maternity care for at least another 12 months.

The MP says it is not inevitable that those services will eventually move to Carlisle.

I think it's a very sensible that's been made. We now have a year to analyse the situation, to consider it properly and then there'll be an independent panel at the end of the year to review the evidence and make the final decision."

– John Stevenson MP, Carlisle, Conservative

Stroke services to be centralised in Carlisle

Credit: ITV Border

Stroke services will be centralised in Carlisle in a hyper-acute stroke unit, health bosses have decided.

The new unit would be staffed by specialists seven days a week, and a transient ischemic attack service will also be considered to run alongside it.

Ambulances will take patients directly to Carlisle, with west Cumbrian patients then being sent to acute stroke and rehabilitation facilities at the West Cumberland Hospital if further care is needed.

Campaigners: It's still a downgrade for health services in Cumbria

Consultant-led maternity services have been saved in west Cumbria for at least the next year.

But with cottage hospital beds axed and emergency paediatric care based in Carlisle, campaigners are saying today's votes from the Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group are still a downgrade.

ITV Border spoke to Mahesh Dhebar, a retired consultant at the West Cumberland Hospital, and Councillor Rebecca Hanson, Liberal Democrat:

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