The man in charge of overseeing changes to healthcare in Cumbria says one of his colleagues has been subjected to 'racial abuse'.

Writing in the first edition of a newsletter, Sir Neil McKay, Chair of the West, North and East Cumbria Success Regime, said a local clinician had been the target of online racist abuse.

He said the abuse had come after the start of a public consultation. The consultation launch followed the publication last month of a controversial report on the future of health services across Cumbria.

The report outlines multiple options for proposals to change maternity services, children’s services, community hospital inpatient beds, emergency and acute care, hyper-acute stroke services, and emergency surgery, trauma and orthopaedic services.

"I have to report that during the first few days of the Healthcare for the Future public consultation some vile and unacceptable online abuse, including racial abuse, was directed towards one of our local clinical consultants. I abhor and condemn all hate crime including written and verbal abuse. I particularly deplore racial abuse. The matter has now been reported to the police and formally recorded as a hate incident.

Sir Neil McKay, Chair of the West, North and East Cumbria Success Regime