Thursday, April 28, 2016

Petition to protect beds at the Mary Hewetson Community hospital in Keswick

I have often written on this blog about West Cumbria Hospital and will be doing so again soon but our community hospitals at Millom and Keswick are also vital for local people.

Mary Hewetson Cottage Hospital in Keswick is a vital local facility for that part of Cumbria and it is very important to retain it.

Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart has expressed his “deep concern” at potential threats to hospital beds as the NHS in Cumbria reviews options, saying the Success Regime should play a greater role in delivering services, not a reduced one.

Mr. Stewart has requested an urgent meeting with Sir Neil McKay, of the Success Regime, and Department of Health minister Ben Gummer to discuss the matters and his “unequivocal backing" of community hospitals in Cumbria

A document released by the Success Regime this month highlights the reasons why Cumbria’s health services are suffering, such as the “super-ageing” population, high levels of ill health and mental ill health, high utilisation of care homes and hospitals, recruitment problems, the geography of the county and “varied relationships” between the public and their health providers.

Mr. Stewart welcomed many of the suggestions to come out of the document.

He said: “Many of the suggested recommendations relating to addressing remote healthcare, and ageing demographics, are very welcome.

“However, I am deeply concerned about the perceived threat to our cottage hospitals, which I shall be supporting in the strongest possible terms.

“Our so-called ‘cottage’ hospitals are treasured locally as an absolutely critical pillar of community healthcare. And I believe very strongly that these hospitals have a greater role to play in delivering healthcare in this part of Cumbria, rather than a reduced role, and I can see no advantage in reducing their scope or centralising services elsewhere.”

He added that financial issues did not always have to dictate closure. “We have shown, in the past years, that local services can be retained even in a challenging financial context. We have preserved services from community ambulances, to snowploughs, to cinemas, to fire engines. Arguably, none of these are as precious as our community hospitals, though, and I resolve to fight any threat to our beloved community hospitals, in no uncertain terms,” said Mr. Stewart.

The community hospital options are contained in a “progress report” on the Success Regime. No decisions have yet been taken.

You can sign a petition to protect the Mary Hewetson hospital in Keswick at

 http://www.thepetitionsite.com/169/421/761/save-our-hospital-from-closure/

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