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Protestors hold torchlit procession

Protesters held a torchlit procession last night Credit: ITV Border

Protesters against cuts to services at Whitehaven's West Cumberland Hospital held a torchlit march last night.

The "We need West Cumberland Hospital" Group say that thirty-three services in West Cumbria have either been lost or are under threat, and that moving them to Carlisle is putting public safety at risk.

A new £90,000,000 hospital is being built in Whitehaven but protesters say that the loss of services may not be addressed by this.

Protestors say that moving some services to Carlisle is putting public safety at risk Credit: ITV Border

However, the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is arguing that services have been improved under the new structure.

It also says that it's important to note that some of the "threatened" services may not actually be under threat.

"Following the centralisation of all complex high risk surgery at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle in 2013, the number of deaths of people from West Cumbria associated with emergency surgery has fallen by over 50%, showing that this was absolutely the right decision for our patients.

“The new £90 million West Cumberland Hospital will ensure that the vast majority of people living in West Cumbria will continue receive their healthcare locally. The new hospital will offer a range of services including an emergency floor with A&E, ambulatory care, ITU and critical care, seven state of the art operating theatres and improved diagnostic services."

– A spokesperson for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

West Cumberland Hospital fire 'most likely' accidental

Investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing Credit: ITV Border

Investigators say that the cause of the fire in the energy centre of the new West Cumberland Hospital was "most likely" accidental.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and independent investigators have been working to ascertain what started the blaze on 23 January 2015.

They say the investigation is going well.

“It is a complex, technically demanding investigation involving large amounts of physical and data evidence. The investigation team is working exceptionally well together utilising experts from a wide field of specialities.

“I can confirm that the current evidence we have indicates that the most likely cause is an accidental fire within the Energy Centre. The investigation will continue as we methodically attempt to pinpoint the exact cause.”

– Adrian Holme, station manager for Workington Locality of Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service


Health boss praises hospital staff for fire response

The fire broke out on Friday night Credit: ITV Border

The staff at the West Cumberland Hospital have been praised by the Trust's chief executive following Friday night's fire.

Anne Farrar has thanked staff for working to ensure that no patients were affected by the incident, including those who volunteered to come from home if they were needed.

She has also paid tribute to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.

“I would like to thank our staff for the outstanding commitment they have shown over the past few days.

"I spent Saturday going round West Cumberland Hospital to talk to staff and whilst everybody was understandably upset, they were all also wonderfully determined that the future is still very bright for the hospital.

“I would also like to thank the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service for their quick action on Friday night to ensure the fire was controlled as quickly as possible.”

– Ann Farrar, chief executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust


Fire sets back Whitehaven hospital opening by months

A fire in the energy centre of the new West Cumberland Hospital building will set back its opening by months.

The local MP Jamie Reed took this photo of the damage Credit: Jamie Reed

Copeland MP Jamie Reed said the news was "utterly devastating" and he will now write to the Department for Health asking that money is put in place to rebuild the centre as quickly as possible.

The fire broke out last night (Friday, 23rd January) in the biomass fuel plant, which was to provide the power for the hospital. No patients or services were affected but the NHS Trust said delays in opening the £100m building were inevitable. It had been due to open in April 2015.

'Devastating' fire at new West Cumberland Hospital

A fire has destroyed the energy centre at the new West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, which was due to open in April.

It broke out last night in the biomass fuel plant, which produces power for the building.

Firefighters spent four hours putting out the blaze and will now investigate what caused it.

The NHS Trust said no patients or services were affected, but the damage will delay the handover of the keys from developers to NHS staff, which was due to happen next week.

It could ultimately delay the moving-in date.

"This is absolutely devastating for me, the staff and the local community. We must let the investigators do their job to understand why this has happened at this time. We were all looking forward to moving into the new hospital and none of us can believe this has happened.”

– Ann Farrar, chief executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust
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