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Hospital petition taken to Downing Street

Campaigners protesting against cuts at a West Cumbrian hospital have handed in a petition with more than 23,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street.

They're opposing plans to move some specialist services from the West Cumberland Hosital in Whitehaven to Carlisle. North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust - which runs both hospitals - says there have already been significant improvements to patient care in West Cumbria, leading to fewer deaths in hospital.

West Cumberland Hospital petition hand in

Campaigners are concerned some services will be downgraded. Credit: ITV Border

Campaigners fighting to prevent services at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven they claim are being downgraded will hand in a petition to Downing Street this afternoon.

The trust which runs the hospital has produced a series of options including moving consultant-led maternity services to Carlisle.

Managers say no final decisions have been made.

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Pop star Emeli Sande backs West Cumberland Hospital

Pop star Emeli Sande has joined the high-profile campaign to save under-threat services at the West Cumberland Hospital.

The award-winning singer/songwriter publicly backed the cuts protest after visiting the county to see family, some of who live in west Cumbria. She used her Twitter account to express her support for the We Need West Cumberland Hospital campaign to her 1.2m followers.

She also joined the group’s Thunderclap campaign, which yesterday saw supporters simultaneously tweet a link to the We Need West Cumberland Hospital Facebook page to almost 2 million people across the world.

The group is fighting to save services including consultant-led maternity, which could be centralised in Carlisle.

Three options for West Cumberland Hospital

Three options have been revealed for the future of maternity services in west Cumbria.

Two would involve withdrawing consultant-led maternity cover from the West Cumberland Hospital.

The third would see it being retained, if sufficient new anaesthetists can be recruited. A public consultation will now be carried out.

Thousands of people went to a public meeting at Whitehaven's rugby league ground last month to express their concerns about the possible loss of some hospital services in the area.

Thousands at the public meeting last month Credit: ITV News Border

MP's debate the future of West Cumberland Hospital

West Cumberland Hospital Credit: ITV News Border

The future of services at West Cumberland Hospital will be discussed in Parliament tonight.

Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham's opening the debate, which comes after a public meeting at Whitehaven rugby league ground last month drew around four thousand people. Campaigners are concerned about some services at the hospital being downgraded, and others moved to Carlisle.

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Response from Prime Minister for #AnswerMaddy

A 10-year-old girl from Cumbria who wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to secure the future of services at the West Cumberland Hospital has had a response.

Letter to Maddy from the Prime Minister Credit: ITV News Border

Maddy has said she was very excited to receive the letter and was really pleased that he agreed with her mum in that if you believe in something and work hard you can achieve it.

However she says there is just one problem – He didn’t answer her question.

"From my perspective I was delighted he responded and I was pleased he reiterated the message that I always install into the girls in that they can achieve anything if they believe enough and work hard. Regarding the content of the letter I felt it was a load of old twaddle. He is just passing the buck. He mentioned a 24 hour A&E but people are waiting over 2 hours for ambulances and then being told they have to go to Carlisle. All the A&E will do will be assess and transfer. As for the maternity unit and need for a consultant that was brushed aside too."

– Emma-Jayne Gooch

Lowca Lane accident victim named

Brian Huddart was taken to West Cumberland Hospital, where he later died. Credit: Cumbria Constabulary

A 60-year-old man killed in a road accident in Workington has been named.

Brian Huddart, from Flimby, was taken to West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven late on Sunday evening, where he later died.

The only car involved in the accident on Lowca Lane was his Mazda.

His family have asked for anyone attending his funeral to do so wearing bright colours.

They have issued the following statement.

“Brian was a lovely person who was known to many. He was a well-respected by work colleagues at Sellafield.

“We are all deeply shocked.

“Brian was a lovely and much loved husband to Anne, dad to Stacy and Holly, and a wonderful granda to Chloe, Alicia, and Matthew as well as a treasured brother and brother in law. He will be deeply missed by his family and friends.”

– Family of Brian Huddart

Staff crisis at West Cumberland Hospital

Managers at North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust say they're facing some "immediate and very real" recruitment problems in Whitehaven.

The West Cumberland Hospital will lose its three remaining junior doctors in August and a recent recruitment campaign has so far failed to fill 11 of 13 available posts.

Managers have now taken the unusual step of writing to other trusts in the North of England to try to fill the gaps in the short term.

North Cumbria plea to NHS trusts for staff

Managers at North Cumbria University Hospitals trust say they are facing some "immediate" problems with staff shortages at the West Cumberland Hospital.

Bosses have written to other trusts in the North East and North West of England to try to plug the gaps short-term.

The West Cumberland Hospital will lose its three remaining junior doctors in August which will make current staff shortages worse.

“We are facing some immediate problems in terms of our acute care medical rota at West Cumberland Hospital and we want to be transparent and open with all of our stakeholders about this.

“We have today written to all chief executives in the North East and North West to request any interim support they may be able to give us in August in order to ensure continuity of care for our patients.

“There is no escaping some of the very real recruitment challenges we face as a Trust and we are committed to working through these and making sure all of our patients, staff, the public and other stakeholders are kept fully up to date with progress."

– Dr Jeremy Rushmer, Medical Director, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust
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