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Jamie Reed welcomes intervention at north Cumbria's hospitals

Credit: ITV Border

Copeland MP Jamie Reed has welcomed the announcement that a new support regime will be put in place at north Cumbria's two main hospitals

NHS England has unveiled plans for North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust, which runs both the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and Whitehaven's West Cumberland Hospital.

Reed said it was "the first step on the long road to ensuring healthcare in West Cumbria is both high quality and sustainable".

NHS regulators to oversee key services in north Cumbria

The Cumberland Infirmary is one of two hospitals in the region to receive a new 'support regime' Credit: ITV Border

NHS regulators have stepped in to oversee the running of key services at north Cumbria's two main hospitals.

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, has unveiled plans for what he said would be a new 'support regime' for areas with systemic challenges in providing high quality healthcare.

The new regime will be introduced at three trusts, including North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs both the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and Whitehaven's West Cumberland Hospital.


Cumbrians asked to get knitting for dementia patients

Credit: PA

Cumbrians are being asked to get out their knitting needles to help patients with dementia.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is launching a scheme where volunteers make a ‘twiddlemuff’, a basic knitted hand muff that has items such as buttons and flowers attached.

It's believed the design offers patients stimulation as they can "twiddle it in their hands", and can stop them harming themselves by taking out their cannula or scratching themselves.

The scheme has proved successful at other hospitals around the country.

Now the Trust is calling on keen knitters to help create a steady supply of twiddlemuffs, or for the less creative, to donate any leftover or odd balls of wool.

“Patients with dementia require distractive techniques as they tend to pull at their cuffs or clothes, or can even harm themselves, scratching at their hands or pulling out cannulas delivering intravenous fluids.

Twiddlemuffs have been proven to be an excellent way of distracting patients with dementia and keeping them calm, thereby allowing us to deliver safe, quality care.”

– Christine Musgrave, Elderly care matron and leader of the scheme

The knitting pattern can be found online.


Tanzanian scientists learn from Cumbrian hospitals

Dr Anthony Nsojo and Felician Msingwa spent time shadowing staff across the region Credit: North Cumbria University Hospital Trust

Scientists from Mbeya Hospital in Tanzania have just completed a two week visit to hospitals in Cumbria, where they were looking at how laboratories in the UK work.

Microbiologists Dr Anthony Nsojo and Felician Msingwa spent time shadowing staff across the region and will take their findings back to Tanzania.

The trip was part of North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust's Tanzanian link. It was funded by a grant from the Tropical Health Education Trust and the Department for International Development.

“As a senior team we are really keen to support projects like this and do anything we can to help the future development of such a worthwhile programme.”

– Helen Ray, Chief operating officer

Trust needed to improve staffing levels

Staffing levels will be one of the focuses of the follow-up inspection of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which will review the specific problems identified with the Trust in its 2014 inspection.

The Care Quality Commission says it will talk to both staff and the public as part of its "robust" review after the Trust's "Requires Improvement" rating last year.

The results, which are expected to be published in 12 weeks time, will consider how far the trust has progressed since it was placed in special measures.

Care Quality Commission begins follow up inspection

Credit: ITV Border

The Care Quality Commission will officially begin a follow up inspection of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust today.

The inspection team will speak to hospital staff and patients about services after the trust received a rating of 'Requires Improvement' in April 2014.

The CGC is particularly interested in hearing about the public's experiences since the rating, but also where they would like to see improvements made in the future.

Public can help Cumbria Hospital improvements

The Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle Credit: ITV Border

Members of the public are being asked to play their part to improve pressures on North Cumbria hospitals.

Efforts are being focused on reducing the need to maintain escalation beds, which have put a strain on normal routine business when hospitals are at capacity.

Health and social partners are working to make sure patients who do not need to be in an acute hospital bed, are safely discharged to a more appropriate care setting or home with the right package of care.

The public are being asked to help reduce pressures, and are being reminded:

  • to think twice before using A&E or calling 999 for serious life threatening emergencies
  • to think about using other NHS services such as walk-in centres and pharmacies or call Cumbria Health on Call (out of hours) on 03000 247247 for advice on alternative urgent services available
  • to stay away from hospital if they have any symptoms of sickness or diarrhoea.
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