Council Leader seeks urgent discussions on loss of community hospital beds

Council Leader seeks urgent discussions on loss of community hospital beds
Stewart Young

Stewart Young

Today at Cabinet Cllr Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council, commented on the recent decision by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We were disappointed at the recent announcement by the Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body which has approved proposals, arising from the Success Regime, to close community hospital beds in Alston, Wigton and Maryport in advance of any alternate services being agreed.

“We have been clear all along that any changes to inpatient beds needed to have costed alternative arrangements worked up prior to any decision being made. This decision pre-empts the outcome of that work.

“We will therefore be seeking urgent discussions with NHS Leaders, and we will be calling on them firstly to assure us that no beds will close unless and until properly worked through solutions for the affected communities have been agreed, and secondly that if those solutions require further investment, that will be supported by them.”

This decision will now go forward to Cumbria’s Health Scrutiny Committee, which has a well-established protocol for scrutinising proposals to substantially vary health services.  The committee will be meeting on the 22nd of March to consider the decisions taken today by the NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body.

Stephen Childs, Chief Executive of NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Governing Body approved the implementation of Option 1, which will see the consolidation of inpatient Community Hospital beds onto six sites. In total there would be 104 inpatient beds at Whitehaven (Copeland Unit), Cockermouth, Workington, Penrith, Brampton and Keswick.

“The CCG looks forward to receiving business cases on the alternative proposals for Alston, Wigton and Maryport and strongly supports the continued close working with local communities on this. We are very grateful to the local community groups and local staff who have led this work over the last six months, and are committed to working with the communities of Alston, Maryport and Wigton, and with Cumbria County Council and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, to support this initiative over the coming months.

“NHS Cumbria CCG is particularly keen to collaborate with Cumbria County Council and build on their experience of community engagement. Full consideration will be given to the re-investment of any savings realised from the changes approved by the Governing Body and we are very clear that unless we have to, for safety and operational reasons, we will not be closing beds until we have completed this work and have robust alternative services are in place.”