Sue Hayman, Labour’s Member of Parliament for Workington, has called on the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to halt plans to axe stroke services in West Cumbria after a senior consultant admitted that some patients may not get treatment in time if they have to travel 40 miles to Carlisle.
Sue has written to Mr Hunt, calling on him to intervene to stop plans by NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group to end acute stroke services at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and centralise them at a new unit at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.
She is demanding action following a television interview last week in which consultant stroke physician Dr Paul Davies admitted that some stroke victims would not get potentially life-saving treatment within the critical 4-hour period following a stroke, if they had to be taken from West Cumbria to Carlisle.
“This really is a matter of life and death. It is totally unacceptable to put the lives of West Cumbrians at risk by removing stroke services from their local hospital and telling them to go to Carlisle for treatment.
“I and local people have been telling NHS North Cumbria for months that it often takes well over an hour to make the 40-mile trip up the single-carriageway A595, and now a consultant has admitted that some people won’t make it in time.
“A core principle of the NHS is that it should be available to people based on need, not on their postcode, so I am calling on the Health Secretary to act now before people lose their lives.”