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Councillors vote against changes to sick children's care

Councillors are worried about plans for transferring sick children between hospitals Credit: ITV Border

Councillors have voted against plans to change children's health service in west Cumbria.

They have been expressing their concerns about the risks of transferring sick children by ambulance between west Cumbria and Carlisle.

Cumbria's Health Scrutiny Committee is meeting to discuss proposed changes to the county's health services which would see seriously ill children treated in Carlisle rather than west Cumbria.

A recommendation to refer children's services proposals back to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was voted through by eight votes to three.

A final decision at the end of today's meeting.

During the debate councillors said a dedicated ambulance to take children from Whitehaven to Carlisle wouldn't "provide safe service."

Councillors arriving for the meeting this morning were met by protestors calling for them to reject plans to cut community hospital beds in Maryport, Alston and Wigton.

There will be a full report on today's meeting in tonight's Lookaround at 6pm.

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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.

Concern over low smear test attendance figures

Dr Heather Currie Credit: ITV Border

A gynaecologist from Dumfries says that more women from the south of Scotland and Cumbria could die from cervical cancer, unless there's an increase in people attending their screening appointments.

Around one in every four women in Scotland are now missing out on their routine smear tests, with uptake at a ten year low.

"That's very concerning i mean that's the lowest it's been for a long time so we have a big worry that if this rate doesn't increase that we will be picking up more people in the future that have changes that could have been treated at a much earlier stage."

– Dr Heather Currie, Gynaecologist, NHS D&G

Catherine Schlag and Christine Potts say they owe theirs lives to smear tests. The sisters, from Dumfries, have both had laser treatment to remove pre-cancerous cells, which were picked up on their very first smear.

"It was a major shock for me. I was very worried about it and very nervous about the outcome. The whole process of what happened and the actual treatment itself was pretty horrific."

– Catherine Schlag
Catherine Schlag and Christine Potts Credit: ITV Border

Both sisters have been given the all clear, but will continue to be monitored.

The vast majority of smear tests return with negative results, but the tests which pick up abnormal changes can be life-saving, according to Dr Currie.

"It's just so sad that if we see somebody who actually has cancer where we could have picked up changes earlier and done a treatment to prevent the cancer.

"We cannot emphasise strongly enough how important it is to have your smear test. It's such a quick procedure and could save your life.'

– Dr Heather Currie, Gynaecologist, NHS D&G

Cervical screening is currently offered to women aged between 25 and 64 and takes place at your local GP surgery.

WATCH: We put your healthcare questions to the Success Regime

A public consultation into plans to make major changes to healthcare in North, West and East Cumbria ended at midnight.

The Success Regime, which was brought in to look at problems in health care in the county, say the plans will improve services and save money.

But there's been some vocal public opposition, especially over proposals to cut beds in community hospitals and end consultant-led maternity care at the West Cumberland Hospital.

There have been many public meetings to discuss the plans and hear concerns, but some of you got in touch with us to say you still have questions. Here's Hannah McNulty, to try to get some answers.

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WATCH: Cumbrian woman backs national brain tumour campaign

A Cumbria woman whose father has terminal brain cancer is backing a national campaign for more research into the disease.

Vicky Mason from Whitehaven has been raising awareness of brain tumours since her father Christopher Todd was diagnosed two years ago

This week the charity Brain Tumour Research published a report highlighting the problem of underfunding in the UK - something the Government is now looking into with a special task group. Matthew Taylor reports.

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