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Ambulance safety concerns over maternity proposals

Ambulance safety concerns over maternity proposals Photo: PA

ITV Border has seen a letter from the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) raising concerns about proposals to downgrade maternity services at the West Cumberland Hospital.

The North, West and East Cumbria Success Regime wants to replace the consultant-led unit at the West Cumberland Hospital with a midwife-led unit. If the proposal goes ahead hundreds of high-risk women will have to travel to Carlisle every year to give birth.

The letter, dated 19 December 2016, says the NWAS does not believe the preferred option "delivers a clinically safe transfer package for high acute patients."

It continues:

We are also concerned that the transfer times within the consultation document have been underestimated."

– Letter from NWAS

But NWAS told ITV Border on Wednesday evening it now "fully supports" proposals to turn the West Cumberland Hospital into a midwife-led unit:

The concerns contained within the NWAS consultation submission related to the clinical support arrangements for certain maternity patients being transferred from the Whitehaven site to Carlisle.

NWAS is assured by the work undertaken jointly to address these points and will continue to fully engage with colleagues from the Acute Trust and wider Regime to work through the finer details of the various consultation options in close partnership.

Now assured, NWAS fully supports the stated preferred approach set out in option 2 of the consultation document in relation to maternity services."

– NWAS Spokesperson

A three-month consultation into various proposals for healthcare in North, West and East Cumbria ended in December. A final decision is due in March.

Nwas letter dated 19/12/2016 Credit: ITV Border
Nwas letter dated 19/12/2016 Credit: ITV Border
Nwas letter dated 19/12/2016 Credit: ITV Border