Labour has today (Tuesday 17th January) launched a video on the Conservative plans to cut services at West Cumberland Hospital. The threat to the hospital has been the key issue for residents in Copeland as the by-election gets into full swing.
The Tories have created a crisis in the NHS and, as a result, the future of West Cumberland Hospital and Keswick Hospital are under threat. The Tories have proposed to remove beds from Keswick Hospital, axe West Cumberland A&E, close the children’s ward, and remove doctors from the maternity unit, forcing expectant mothers to travel 40 miles to Carlisle, a journey that the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner said, “…can take an hour and a half to two hours and I think that's a real worry and I think it's potentially life threatening.”
The video also highlights concerns raised by West Cumberland hospital midwives who wrote to the Chief Executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust last year. They said, “We cannot believe that you would remove consultant cover from WCH. Surely the lives of pregnant ladies are worth much more than a cost cutting exercise? We are told that these cuts are for safety reasons. That we know is not true. We also know that: mothers will die, babies will die, babies will be brain damaged and Families will be traumatised.”
The video will bring these issues front in centre in a campaign that will be seen as an endorsement or rejection of the Government’s plans.