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Ambulance service struggling to recruit in Cumbria

The ambulance service is struggling to recruit. Credit: PA

The North West Ambulance Service is struggling to recruit staff in Cumbria.

The organisation says it wants to address the shortage by encouraging local people to consider careers as paramedics and stay in the county once they've qualified.

We're trying to recruit local paramedics now, local people to work and stay in Cumbria so they live here, they work here and they end their career here really so we keep them for a long time.

– Vinny Romano, North West Ambulance Service

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Dementia house opens in Stranraer

The house. Credit: ITV Border

A house full of gadgets to help families care for relatives who are elderly or have dementia has been opened in Stranraer.

Some of the items on show include a 'talking' microwave.

The aim is to help the most vulnerable people in our society live better, more independent lives.

The house has been set up by Loreburn Housing Association, and healthcare professionals.

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Penrith care home put into special measures

Beacon Edge Care Home. Credit: ITV Border

A Cumbrian care home has been put into special measures following an unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

Beacon Edge Care Home, in Penrith, provides residential care for up to 33 people who live with dementia.

The home was previously inspected in February 2015 and was rated as Good, however an inspection at the end of 2016 raised concerns.

People are entitled to services which provide safe, effective, responsive and high quality care. We found that the care provided at Beacon Edge Care Home fell a long way short of what we expect services to provide.

There were not always enough staff available to meet the needs of people who used this service. And although we observed friendly interactions between staff and residents, this approach was not always consistent particularly when supporting people with eating and drinking or where people had limited verbal communication skills.

We were concerned that people weren’t being supported whilst eating and drinking, and specialist dietary requirements were poorly managed.

Much of the support provided by staff was 'task orientated' rather than centred on people's individual preferences and staff did not always know what had been written in care plans and daily notes.

We are working with partners including Cumbria County Council and Cumbria CCG to ensure the safety of people using this service.

– Rosalind Sanderson, North East and Coast Head of Adult Social Care Inspection

Bupa, the company that runs the care home, has expressed "disappointment" at the CQC's report.

We are very disappointed by the report, as everyone in the home is focused on improving standards.

Following the CQC’s inspection two months ago we took immediate action to improve the home. We transferred one of our most experienced home managers to look after it and he has already overhauled our staff training programme, how we administer medication and improved how we document the care we provide. We have also reassessed our staffing requirements and staff are now deployed to better meet our residents’ needs.

– Rebecca Pearson, Operations Director, Bupa Care Services

Visitor ban lifted at Cumbrian hospital

The Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. Credit: ITV Border

A temporary suspension for routine visitors to the Cumberland Infirmary has been lifted.

It applies to all parts of the hospital, with the exception of Beech A&B and Maple D wards.

The visitor ban was put in place last week after a Norovirus outbreak, and the NHS Trust in charge of the hospital says it's helped them to get the situation under control.

The Trust brought in these measures to ensure the safety of our patients and staff. The levels of norovirus have dropped significantly throughout the hospital due to restrictions and I would like to thank our patients and visitors for their co-operation.

We know that many visitors feel they must take every opportunity to visit sick friends or relatives, and understand how difficult this must have been. We didn’t take this decision lightly but the more people who pass through our hospitals, the greater risk of the virus spreading, affecting more vulnerable patients and hospital staff.

I would like to remind people if you have had norovirus yourself, please stay away until you have been symptom-free for at least two days.

– Clive Graham, director of infection prevention & control

NHS Trust defends position after maternity letter

The NHS Trust has responded. Credit: PA

The NHS Trust in charge of the West Cumberland Hospital and Cumberland Infirmary has defended its position, after the publication of a letter accusing it of spreading "false" information.

Andrene Hamilton, an Obstetrics & Gynaecology consultant at West Cumberland Hospital, sent the letter to the Prime Minister Theresa May.

The letter calls proposals to downgrade maternity services at the West Cumberland Hospital "dangerous", and says all maternity consultants at the hospital are against the proposals.

However, the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has now defended its position.

We are fully engaged with our obstetrics & gynaecology consultants as well as our wider consultant body. The view of the majority of our obstetrics & gynaecology consultants and the wider clinical leadership team is that if we cannot maintain consultant-led units at both hospital sites, we must explore alternative ways to provide a safe and sustainable service for mothers and babies in West, North & East Cumbria. This view has been expressed consistently for many months.

We have been open about the fact that we had some success last year in recruiting middle-grade doctors in Maternity services. However, we have also been clear that the concerns around staffing mainly relate to our paediatric services. In the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) report about our Children’s services published in November 2016, they absolutely recognised the long-standing challenges we have in recruiting substantive medical staff in this area and the fact that we are taking action to tackle this issue.

During the consultation thousands of people have been engaged with and thousands of questionnaire responses and written responses were submitted. They are all currently being independently analysed and the analysis report will be one of the papers that NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group considers when reaching decisions on the services described in the consultation document including maternity services.

– Dr Rod Harpin, medical director of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust
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