West Cumbria Community Forum Hear about Millom Successes

Community forum Hear About Millom Successes

A representative from the Millom community action group attended the West Cumbria Community Forum to talk about their successful achievements as a result of organisations and local people working together.

Local woman Jenny Brumby who has been a key player in the establishment of the Millom Alliance including the Millom Health Action Group, the Millom Hospital League of Friends, a range of NHS organisations and Cumbria County Council explained how a video involving local schoolchildren is helping to attract GPs to work in the area.

She was joined by Dr John Howarth, Director of Service Improvement at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, who has also provided substantial support to local efforts in Millom.

This led to a discussion at the forum about how local community representatives could work with the NHS on a recruitment campaign which is being planned by North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust to start in September.

Forum members also heard how the Millom Alliance had developed and widely shared public information to help local people to look after themselves better and to make the best use of NHS services. The Alliance is also producing a regular local newsletter.

David Blacklock, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Cumbria which facilitates the West Cumbria Community Forum said:

“Jenny’s presentation was inspiring and showed just how much can be achieved by the local community and local organisations working together. They have much to be proud of and have been able to generate such a lot of goodwill. There is much we can learn from and already plans are in place to look at how we can take a similar approach to community representatives supporting a recruitment drive being led by the North Cumbria Trust.”

The community forum which is chaired by the Archdeacon of West Cumberland, the Venerable Dr Richard Pratt, was set up late last year to make sure that people in West Cumbria are properly engaged in any discussions about health and care developments.

Richard, Archdeacon of West Cumberland said:

“The presentation from Jenny and the Millom Alliance was very impressive and we are full of admiration for all their vision and work.  They spoke of themselves as ordinary, but we thought that they were extraordinary!   They showed us how to be part of the change which is needed, how to be good users of the NHS.  How fantastic if we can mirror here what they have done in Millom.” 

At their fourth meeting held at Cleator Moor Civic Hall on Friday 12 June, they also heard about how North Cumbria has been included in a new national initiative called the Success Regime for the country’s most challenged health communities and about some changes being made to a small number of hospital services for the most seriously ill patients.

They also received an update on next steps following the independent review of maternity services which reported in March that the favoured option for the future would be to retain consultant-led maternity units at Whitehaven, Carlisle, Barrow and Lancaster with the immediate development of midwifery-led units alongside the consultant led units at Carlisle and Lancaster. In the longer term the option includes consideration of the development of midwifery led units alongside the consultant led units at Whitehaven and Barrow. A project team will now carry out a feasibility study for how this can be achieved.

The meeting was attended by around 40 representatives from the local NHS, parish, district and county councils, community and voluntary sector and other local groups. Copeland and Workington MPs, Jamie Reed and Sue Hayman were also in attendance.

Notes from the meeting will be available shortly.