Tuesday, November 15, 2005

KEEP MILLOM COMMUNITY HOSPITAL

I am very disappointed to learn that threats to the services provided by Millom Community Hospital have re-surfaced.

Last year when local health trusts began to review the provision of Community hospitals there were suggestions that this might affect the future of Millom Hospital. Millom Town council called a well-attended public meeting chaired by the then Mayor, Ray Cole. At that meeting the Chief Executive of the Primary Care trusts, Nigel Woodcock, stated and then specifically confirmed in response to a question from me, that there were no plans to close Millom Community Hospital. The large number of local residents present understood this, quite reasonably, to be a clear signal that their hospital was safe.

However, having local hospital services is not just a matter of having a building in the area which is called a hospital. It is also important to protect the actual facilities and care which the hospital provides.

Local NHS trusts have said that they are considering the possibility that some services currently provided in District General Hospitals like the one at Whitehaven could be provided in Community Hospitals like Millom instead. In principle this could have some advantages, but if it results in the “crowding out” of existing services, then some patients in areas like Millom could lose out.

Some of the options under consideration by the trusts – such as the possibility of ceasing to provide overnight care – would certainly have that effect.

There have already been a number of local service reductions which have severely disadvantaged residents of Millom, such as the move of the Gynaecological clinic to Workington. With the recent disgraceful decision by the government to downgrade the A595 the importance of the local hospital has become even greater.

It was said once that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. If residents of Millom want to keep good local health services that vigilance is needed now. It is very important that as many residents as possible take part in the forthcoming public consultation on the Trusts’ proposals for community hospitals.

2 comments:

Andrew said...

Thank you again for highlighting another local issue. There is a great deal of concern about the future of the hospital - everyone I know has already signed a petition. We are so far from the next nearest facilities - long and slow journeys to Whitehaven or Barrow - and the hospital is greatly valued. It has benefited from huge local support (including financial) over the years. Millom deserves help rather than being dealt another blow.

rachel 15 said...

i agree. millom hospital serves the commuity not just the nhs. okay so the emergecies go to barrow, but who going to travel an hour to vist there grandad or help there disabled child when theres a prefectly good hospital here?