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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.

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

Trust 'genuinely excited about opportunities ahead'

The Trust has had a difficult few years. A few days ago three junior doctors were removed from their posts at the West Cumberland Hospital because there weren't enough senior staff to support them. Staff shortages have previously been criticised and the Trust has also dealt with financial issues.

The Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is working with the hospitals under a 'buddy' system of support. A planned takeover is currently on hold after the Cumbrian Trust was put into special measures. A £90 million redevelopment of the Whitehaven site is due to be completed later this year.

The Trust is entering a very exciting phase of development, delivering our safety and quality improvements and working very closely with our official buddy trustNorthumbria Healthcare.There can be no denying the historical problems we have faced with recruitment but we are genuinely excited about the opportunities which lie ahead, especially with the new West Cumberland Hospital opening and the overall positive direction which the organisation is now taking.

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


Worldwide hunt for Cumbrian Hospital staff

A worldwide hunt is underway to recruit staff for two Cumbrian hospitals. The troubled North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust which runs the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven needs to hire dozens of Consultants, Doctors and Nurses.

The recruitment drive is being dubbed 'Looking for a fresh start' with hospital bosses hoping to attract more people like Consultant Paediatrician Dr Jason Gane, a South African who has just moved with his family from London to live and work in Cumbria

Lack of support for local doctors

There are serious implications of a shortfall of doctors at a Cumbria hospital.

Three trainees have been removed from their positions at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven because there aren't enough senior clinicians to support them.

Politicians and campaigners say the loss of junior doctors is "very serious". North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust says it's doing everything possible to plug the gaps and improve long-term recruitment.

Katie Hunter reports.

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