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Health bosses 'welcome' investigation into death rates

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is going to be investigated over their mortality rates.

The Trust has already investigated more than 1100 deaths at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven but the review will look into why there were 18 excess deaths for every 100 expected between 2011 and 2012.

Death rates at 14 hospitals are going to be reviewed following a damning report into deaths at Stafford Hospital.

The review will be headed by Sir Bruce Keogh, the man in charge of the NHS.

The Trust is in the middle of being taken over by Northumbria NHS Trust after a series of high profile problems concerning finances and patient care. Dr Jeremy Rushmer is Director of Clinical Transformation and is involved in the acquisition process. He says he isn't surprised by the investigation.

Dumfries to pilot more flexible visitor hours in hospitals

Hospitals wards in Dumfries and Galloway will have more flexibles visiting hours as part of a new pilot scheme.

Five healths boards across Scotland are taking part in the initiative, which was launched by Scotland's Health Secretary, Alex Neil, today (16th January).

The pilot is aimed at making the NHS more 'user friendly' and meeting patients' needs.

The three month trial will be assessed before possibly being extended to other areas.

The British Medical Association welcomed the move, but says clinical priorities must always come first.

Cumbrian hospitals watchdog severely criticised in damming report

A health watchdog that investigated failings at hospitals in south Cumbria, has been severely criticised by MPs.

A damning report found that the Care Quality Commission is not trusted by the public and often just 'ticks boxes' rather than actually doing its job.

The Commision investigated the Morecambe Bay Trust which has its headquaters in Kendal, after a number of deaths at the maternity unit of the hospital in Barrow.


Think twice before visiting A&E

Patients are being asked to 'Think twice' before visiting the accident and emergency department of their local hospital. The North Cumbria University Hospital trust are asking people to remember that A&E and 999 services are for emergency situations.

They say that A&E is the best option for life-threatening and serious emergencies, such as serious accidents and burns, breathing problems, heart attacks and strokes. For other conditions other NHS services are usually a better option.

Patients are encouraged to use services such as NHS Direct, high street pharmacies, GP practices and walk-in centres at local community hospitals for non emergency treatments.

Mike Walker, Medical Director at North Cumbria University Hospitals, said:

"I would like to encourage local people to make sure that they choose the right service and help our teams to cope over the winter months. Our A&E teams have to deal with many people who have life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks and strokes, plus those who have been involved in serious accidents. We need to make sure we can concentrate on helping these emergency cases.

"Before you come to A&E, take a moment to think carefully about whether you could be treated elsewhere. Your local high-street chemist can give expert, fast and confidential advice and treatment for many common complaints and can refer you on to other services if needed."

– Mike Walker, Medical Director at North Cumbria University Hospitals

Doctors strike, patients reassured

Hospitals across the ITV Border area are reassuring patients that every effort will be made to minimise disruption to patient care during the planned doctors strike on Thursday 21st June.

Members of the British Medical Association are set to take industrial action as part of a national protest.

In the Scottish Borders some non-emergency operations have been cancelled but NHS Borders have to stressed that anyone affected has been contacted.

Patients in Cumbria are being assured that emergency services will not be affected and vital operations will still be taking place.

The associate director of Surgery at North Cumbria's NHS trust spoke to ITV Border, he was keen to reassure patients in Cumbria and said anyone who will be affected by the strike has been contacted.