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New questions over maternity services in Whitehaven

ITV Border has learnt that managers at the North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust have made internal proposals to downgrade maternity services at the West Cumberland Hospital. Until now health bosses were expected to wait until the results of an external review in November before making plans.

The local MP Jamie Reed says maternity services must continue to be led by consultants. The trust acknowledges it has had initial discussions about a range of options. Katie Hunter reports.

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Controversy over West Cumberland Hospital plans

Protestors say their message can't be ignored, after a public meeting about the loss of hospital services in west Cumbria.

Around 4,000 people attended the gathering in Whitehaven last night, and the area's MP Jamie Reed said the huge showing marked a turning point.

Whitehaven is getting a fully functioning new hospital but the protestors are angry that some procedures are being moved to Carlisle, some 40 miles away.

The NHS in Cumbria says it's only being done in a few areas where it's safer for patients.

Tim Backshall was at the meeting.

Health officials: hospital plans will 'save lives'

Health officials say they understand the concerns of the people who demonstrated in west Cumbria last night but say they need to ensure services are safe and save lives.

Around four thousand people went to the town's rugby league ground to question health officials about their plans for the new West Cumberland Hospital, which is nearly finished.

They're worried that some services are being transferred to Carlisle, 40 miles away.

The North Cumbria NHS Trust says only high risk operations have been moved, because of a lack of qualified staff in Whitehaven, and mortality rates have fallen as a result.

Many people raised particular concerns about the future of consultant-led maternity services at the hospital.

But Dr. David Rogers, of NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, says the preferred option is to see it remain in Whitehaven.

After the meeting he spoke to our reporter, Tim Backshall.

Big turnout 'sign of frustration'

Copeland's MP Jamie Reed says a huge demonstration in Whitehaven last night against health service changes is "a sign of frustration."

Around four thousand people went to the town's rugby league ground to question health officials about their plans for the new West Cumberland Hospital, which is nearly finished in the town. They're worried that some services are being transferred to Carlisle.

The North Cumbria NHS Trust says only high risk operations have been moved, because of a lack of qualified staff in Whitehaven, and mortality rates have fallen as a result.

But Jamie Reed says west Cumbria is not getting the hospital it was promised and the trust hasn't been honest or accountable. He says the demonstration should force health officials to change.

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Thousands at Whitehaven hospital meeting

Around 4,000 people showed up for the meeting Credit: ITV Border

Thousands of people turned out for a public meeting about the future of West Cumberland Hospital.

They'll discuss the construction of Whitehaven's new hospital, which is due to be finished in December, with NHS bosses and MPs.

Our reporter Tim Backshall has been tweeting from the scene.

The meeting was held at Whitehaven Rugby League Club, to allow local people to have their say about the building of a new hospital.

Concerns about cuts to services have been raised Credit: ITV Border

Local campaigners are concerned the plans will lead to cuts to services.

4,000 make voices heard at hospital cuts protest

Around 4,000 people in West Cumbria turned out to protest over concerns to cuts to hospital services.

ITV Border correspondent Tim Backshall was at the protest at Whitehaven's rugby league ground.

But the NHS in North Cumbria says only some high risk services are being moved because of insufficient staff in West Cumbria and patients will be safer under the new arrangements.

Thousands protest over hospital cuts concerns

Thousands of people have attended a public meeting in Whitehaven this evening to protest about the loss of hospital services in West Cumbria.

Campaigners say that some services are being transferred from the new West Cumberland Hospital to Carlisle, a journey of 40 miles from Whitehaven.

They gathered at the town's rugby league ground to question health officials and make their opposition clear.

But the NHS in North Cumbria says only some high risk services are being moved because of insufficient staff in West Cumbria and patients will be safer under the new arrangements.

Stage is set for hospital cuts discussion

Hundreds of people are expected to pose their questions to NHS bosses tonight, after concerns were raised about the future of health services in West Cumbria.

The meeting is part of an ongoing campaign against any possible cuts to services. NHS officials and the area's MP are expected to speak at tonight's meeting.

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