Sue accompanied a group of Cumbrian GPs to the Department of Health last night, to raise their concerns regarding local community hospitals in West Cumbria with the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP.
The delegation comprised Sue Hayman MP, GPs Dr Simon Desert, Dr John Howarth, and Dr Niall McGreevy, and the leader of Allerdale Borough Council, Cllr Alan Smith.
The group pressed Mr Hunt on the need for the Cumbrian NHS Success Regime to be truly holistic by fully including the county’s community hospitals, community services and primary care teams, and how, by supporting these, this would lead to a dramatic improvement to the Cumbrian health economy as a whole.
Jeremy Hunt was very receptive to the views of the group, and said he would go away and ensure that the crucial role of Cumbria’s community hospitals would not be overlooked as part of the NHS Success Regime process.
“We have a huge opportunity to build the sort of health service that the people of West Cumbria expect and deserve, with first class acute hospitals, community hospitals, GPs and other primary care services. The Success Regime needs to focus on every area of our local health service, because only then will we achieve success and deliver a level of service that is fit for purpose and fit for the specific needs of West Cumbria.”
Dr Simon Desert said:
“Mr Hunt acknowledged the success of integrated care at Cockermouth and the strength of general practice in Cumbria generally. He noted the need to provide more care out of hospital requires us to build all our major hospital services on a solid foundation of primary, community and social care.”
Dr John Howarth said:
“A health system needs to be built on a strong foundation. This starts with patients, their carers and communities, supported by general practice and wider community services. This foundation needs to be given the same priority and attention as hospital services. In particular we need to support general practice which is under strain locally and nationally.”
Dr Niall McGreevy said:
“The Secretary of State for Health was totally in agreement that improvement in Cumbria’s health economy would only be achieved through a whole systems approach, involving all the partners who currently provide health and social care and the people they serve.”