West Cumbria hospital changes: ‘Public unrest’ warning

BBC News reports on the prospect of civil unrest in the periphery.

West Cumbria hospital changes: ‘Public unrest’ warning

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.

Health review recommends service cuts in west Cumbria


  • Midwives concerned over Cumbria maternity shake-up
    10 August 2016
  • Cumbria’s struggling health trust faces ‘tough decisions’
    26 April 2016


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A596 in Maryport at the junction with Gavel Street

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About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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