Representatives from the local NHS talked about the findings of an independent review of maternity services at the West Cumbria Community Forum last Friday (27th March 2015), attended by approximately 40 representative members.
Board members from NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust talked about their commitment to explore the viability of the preferred option in the report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which is to maintain four consultant-led maternity units at Carlisle, Whitehaven, Barrow and Lancaster.
The option also includes developing midwifery-led units on the same site or next to the consultant-led maternity units at Carlisle and Lancaster and in the longer term to evaluate the development of the same at Whitehaven and Barrow.
They heard that a project team with an external senior manager, external obstetrician, local head of midwifery and patient representatives would now be set up to explore the viability of this option. Should this option not be possible, Option 2 should be explored (see below). The independent review team expect this work to take place over a year.
Forum members were reassured that there would be no changes to maternity services whilst this work is being carried out.
The forum, chaired by the Archdeacon of West Cumberland, the Venerable Dr Richard Pratt and facilitated by Healthwatch Cumbria was set up late last year to ensure that people in West Cumbria are properly engaged in any discussions about health and care developments.
Last week’s meeting at the Cleator Moor Civic Hall and Masonic Centre, was attended by representatives from the local NHS, parish, district and county councils, community and voluntary sector, other local groups and patient representatives. Copeland MP, Jamie Reed was also in attendance.
Other items on the agenda also included a discussion on different perceptions of risk in relation to the changes to hospital services.
They also received an update on the development of public information about the services to be available at the new hospital and volunteers from the forum were sought to help with this.
David Blacklock, chief executive of Healthwatch Cumbria said:
“We had a very good meeting with constructive discussions about some important issues, including future options for maternity services. We also talked about our different understandings of risk; which included discussions about the need for everyone to be talking the same language and to be working towards a common agenda.
Following our last meeting, work has progressed on the development of patient information about services to be provided at the new hospital and this hopefully this will be completed with input from some forum members.”
Please see below for more detailed notes of the meeting: