BBC News reports on the prospect of civil unrest in the periphery.
The government is being threatened with “public unrest” over a shake-up of Cumbria’s health services.
Health minister Philip Dunne faced campaigners on a visit to West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.
A report by the Success Regime looking at improving health care in the region suggests downgrading some services to save money.
Rachel Holliday, from the group We Need West Cumberland Hospital, said Mr Dunne had to listen to residents’ concerns.
“If he doesn’t you’re going to see a lot more of what we have today, and public unrest, because we’re tired now of sitting round tables talking to people who may say that they’re listening to us, but they certainly don’t hear what we’re saying,” she said.
“We’re angry now. Really angry. We’re not taking it any more that they’re just going to tell us what they’re doing to our community.”
Mr Dunne said his visit had been a “welcome opportunity” to hear “first-hand the views of local campaigners and staff”.
He encouraged people to get involved in the current public consultation, which would “help local NHS leaders to be better informed to make the best decisions for Cumbria”.
Campaigners want to keep 24-hour consultant-led maternity care, stroke services and a full accident and emergency unit in Whitehaven.
Health bosses say current provision in the county is “unsustainable” with trusts predicted to overspend by about £163m a year by 2020.
They also have an acute shortage of doctors and nurses, largely because of the county’s remoteness.
Health campaigner Siobhan Gearing said “lives will be lost” if patients have to travel 40 miles to Carlisle for treatment.
She did not think Mr Dunne’s promised visit the area would make a difference.
“I don’t think anybody else outside of West Cumbria cares about West Cumbria,” she said.
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