'Hands off our Hospital': Westmorland Gazette launches campaign to keep services in Kendal

'Hands off our Hospital': Westmorland Gazette launches campaign to keep services in Kendal

Westmorland General Hospital

'Hands off our Hospital': Westmorland Gazette launches campaign to keep services in Kendal

First published in News
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The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

The Westmorland Gazette has launched a major campaign to safeguard services at Westmorland General Hospital.

‘Hands off Our Hospital’ follows revelations that services could be moved away from the Kendal site, or out of NHS control, as part of a £165m project being considered by Morecambe Bay healthcare trust bosses.

The proposals were revealed last week by a pair of consultants following a meeting they attended with Jackie Daniel, chief executive of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.

They claimed Ms Daniel suggested services at the site could be moved elsewhere – with the Royal Lancaster Infirmary in line for investment of £150m and Furness General Hospital in line for another £15m.

They also say that Ms Daniel discussed the idea that WGH could be ‘gifted’ to a ‘social enterprise’.

Now readers are being urged to get behind the campaign – which has been backed by unions, MPs, councillors and local people – in a bid to stop any such proposals being given the green light.

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Specifically the campaign is seeking assurances that:

* GPs, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust will protect the future of Westmorland General Hospital (WGH) at Kendal

* The site will not be transferred or ‘gifted’ to a third party and the site, services and staff will remain in the hands of the NHS

“I’m delighted the Gazette is launching a campaign to protect NHS services in Kendal,” said a WGH consultant, who asked to remain anonymous.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of colleagues in the hospital and we’re all very happy with the services provided at Kendal and do not think there’s a good case – clinical or otherwise – for moving services away.

“I hope people will get behind it and fight to ensure the hospital remains safe.”

The proposal was made as part of the Better Care Together process, which is being led by GPs, Clinical Commissioning Groups and UHMBT, to create a long-term plan for healthcare around the bay.

 

 

The Westmorland Gazette: PRINT THE FORM OUT AND SEND TO ABOVE ADDRESS

 

This week the Gazette asked Dr Hugh Reeve, chair of the Cumbria CCG, to give ‘categorical assurances’ on behalf of Better Care Together that existing services will be maintained at WGH.

“We can’t at this time give those assurances because we haven’t finished the process,” he said.

“Why would we be doing the review if we could say that all existing services will stay the same?”

And in a blog posted online last Friday, Ms Daniel said it was ‘unlikely’ the outcome of Better Care Together will be to “stay as we are and ‘tinker’ around the edges”.

“I do believe that if we work together we can create a system that we can all be proud of, but we do have to think beyond bricks and mortar,” she continued.

“This isn’t the time to be protective about traditional organisational boundaries.”

The Gazette’s campaign mirrors one launched by South Lakes MP Tim Farron last week, in the wake of the revelations.

Last night almost 3,000 people had already signed their support.

“I am deeply disturbed by these proposals to ‘gift’ our hospital to a private company,” said Mr Farron.

“The pressure is on for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust to give a clear and unambiguous assurance that Westmorland General Hospital is safe.”

He added: “We will not tolerate any threat to our hospital.”

Yesterday he raised the issue with Prime Minister David Cameron, who said he would work with Mr Farron on the issue.

Local people have also spoken out in support of their hospital.

“If the consultants are against this proposal the trust will have a very difficult fight on its hands,” said Dr David Earnshaw, of Ambleside, who works at the hospital as a duty doctor.

“People see Westmorland General Hospital as their guardian, their gatekeeper.”

He added: “I would put in everything I could muster against this.”

And Alan Price, secretary of South Lakes Health Action, said he would ‘particularly encourage’ anyone living in the area to take an interest in how their local hospital could be affected.

“This is our opportunity to say what we need from our local NHS service providers,” he said.

Now several people have called for those working on the Better Care Together programme to be clear about what could happen to the site.

“Senior management from the trust haven’t actually spoken to me and it’s been two weeks since they met with consultants,” said Kirk Panter, staff-side chair for non-medical unions.

“That in itself is quite worrying.”

The Gazette coupons which have been signed by readers will be presented to the Better Care Together team ahead of a decision being made later this year.

Comments (13)

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3:28pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Cas220 says...

Is there any way of giving my name online? I fully support this campaign but it is 2014 and cutting a coupon from the paper is a bit outdated. Sorry if there is a special reason for the coupon.
Is there any way of giving my name online? I fully support this campaign but it is 2014 and cutting a coupon from the paper is a bit outdated. Sorry if there is a special reason for the coupon. Cas220
  • Score: 22

5:45am Fri 11 Apr 14

Grumpyoldbiker says...

This is very worrying. I hope the district will unite behind the MP, whether you support him or not, to ensure our medical services are accessible. Barrow, Lancaster or wherever are not local. I will be cutting out the coupon and putting it through the letterbox of the WMG office when in town.
This is very worrying. I hope the district will unite behind the MP, whether you support him or not, to ensure our medical services are accessible. Barrow, Lancaster or wherever are not local. I will be cutting out the coupon and putting it through the letterbox of the WMG office when in town. Grumpyoldbiker
  • Score: 9

9:47am Fri 11 Apr 14

Scots Guardsman says...

Most areas with the population of Morecambe Bay have a single DGH, Morecambe Bay has 3 - and they simply cannot all be afforded. The site of any major facility like a hospital not only needs to be near the majority of the population in terms of service, but in terms of recruitment. Which is why suggestions of a new "super-hospital" in the middle of nowhere are so much pie-in-the-sky.

If people want high-quality 24/7 services that means either a lot more staff (which there isn't the money for) or rationalising and concentrating services to make sure they are genuine "centres of excellence" - not pretend ones designed to look good and tick local politicians boxes.

Above all Tim Farron needs to stop pretending he's "opposed" to this. He's the member of a Government that has imposed £20 Billion in cuts on the NHS, he voted for the Lansley changes which cost another £3 billion to make the NHS ready for privatsation, he has consistently supported Government policy on breaking up the NHS, blocking staff pay & pensions and spending huge sums to get "private sector buy-in".

The Lib-Con Coalition is about privatising and selling off the NHS at knock-down prices to their city pals just like they did with the Post Office.

As long as Time Farron continues to take the Government Whip he should be apologising for what he has done to the NHS nationally and locally - not trying to pretend it's all someone else's fault.
Most areas with the population of Morecambe Bay have a single DGH, Morecambe Bay has 3 - and they simply cannot all be afforded. The site of any major facility like a hospital not only needs to be near the majority of the population in terms of service, but in terms of recruitment. Which is why suggestions of a new "super-hospital" in the middle of nowhere are so much pie-in-the-sky. If people want high-quality 24/7 services that means either a lot more staff (which there isn't the money for) or rationalising and concentrating services to make sure they are genuine "centres of excellence" - not pretend ones designed to look good and tick local politicians boxes. Above all Tim Farron needs to stop pretending he's "opposed" to this. He's the member of a Government that has imposed £20 Billion in cuts on the NHS, he voted for the Lansley changes which cost another £3 billion to make the NHS ready for privatsation, he has consistently supported Government policy on breaking up the NHS, blocking staff pay & pensions and spending huge sums to get "private sector buy-in". The Lib-Con Coalition is about privatising and selling off the NHS at knock-down prices to their city pals just like they did with the Post Office. As long as Time Farron continues to take the Government Whip he should be apologising for what he has done to the NHS nationally and locally - not trying to pretend it's all someone else's fault. Scots Guardsman
  • Score: -3

12:40pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Boxbag says...

Fight to save what's left of this hospital. It may not be a major hospital anymore for the area, more like a glorified clinic or drop in centre with beds but hey it's still worth fighting for and who knows if it works one day it might grow again! Stop privatisation fight for a return to a fully free NHS.
Fight to save what's left of this hospital. It may not be a major hospital anymore for the area, more like a glorified clinic or drop in centre with beds but hey it's still worth fighting for and who knows if it works one day it might grow again! Stop privatisation fight for a return to a fully free NHS. Boxbag
  • Score: 14

11:54am Sat 12 Apr 14

greenbell says...

I think that Saint Tim's halo must be slipping!
I think that Saint Tim's halo must be slipping! greenbell
  • Score: -4

8:24am Sun 13 Apr 14

drixhen says...

If everyone is against these cuts that this government has made on the
nhs then they know what to do there is an election next year so lets get rid of
Farron and the rest of this rabble end of story
If everyone is against these cuts that this government has made on the nhs then they know what to do there is an election next year so lets get rid of Farron and the rest of this rabble end of story drixhen
  • Score: 1

9:25am Sun 13 Apr 14

davidearnshaw says...

Good Folks of Kendal and South Lakes ----- lets stop whying and whereforing ( sorry about the non dictionary words ) and political sniping ---- every single person in the area should make it known to Hospital Trust Management that we suffered a "downgrade" a number of years ago --- and we will not tolerate another; believe me --- our MP is doing his utmost to prevent this happening ---- did any of you doubters see his impassioned Question to Prime Minister who has said he will get involved ---- this last week ?? it takes not much time to write to the Chief Executive Jackie Daniels c/o Westmorland General Hospital --- please do it, and sign any petitions available; hitherto I am not knowledgeable as to what the possible changes are likely to be, but suffice to say, everything is just fine as it is ---- I get fed up with management churning out the usual mantras about providing a safe and best for the patient service and implying that for this to be it may need a removal of services from Kendal -- this is utter rubbish ---- the whole issue is purely financial ----- Consultants know it and some have spoken out --- come on the rest of you Consultants join in with your colleagues -- stand up and be counted en block and say a big NO to management ---- why remain anonymous -- if all of you stood together it would surely send a very strong message.
Good Folks of Kendal and South Lakes ----- lets stop whying and whereforing ( sorry about the non dictionary words ) and political sniping ---- every single person in the area should make it known to Hospital Trust Management that we suffered a "downgrade" a number of years ago --- and we will not tolerate another; believe me --- our MP is doing his utmost to prevent this happening ---- did any of you doubters see his impassioned Question to Prime Minister who has said he will get involved ---- this last week ?? it takes not much time to write to the Chief Executive Jackie Daniels c/o Westmorland General Hospital --- please do it, and sign any petitions available; hitherto I am not knowledgeable as to what the possible changes are likely to be, but suffice to say, everything is just fine as it is ---- I get fed up with management churning out the usual mantras about providing a safe and best for the patient service and implying that for this to be it may need a removal of services from Kendal -- this is utter rubbish ---- the whole issue is purely financial ----- Consultants know it and some have spoken out --- come on the rest of you Consultants join in with your colleagues -- stand up and be counted en block and say a big NO to management ---- why remain anonymous -- if all of you stood together it would surely send a very strong message. davidearnshaw
  • Score: 13

2:32pm Sun 13 Apr 14

greenbell says...

drixhen wrote:
If everyone is against these cuts that this government has made on the
nhs then they know what to do there is an election next year so lets get rid of
Farron and the rest of this rabble end of story
I quite agree. Farron supports the Government in making NHS cuts and privatisation of hospitals and then he has the cheek to start a campaign to save the Westmoreland General. Which side of the fence does he want to be?
[quote][p][bold]drixhen[/bold] wrote: If everyone is against these cuts that this government has made on the nhs then they know what to do there is an election next year so lets get rid of Farron and the rest of this rabble end of story[/p][/quote]I quite agree. Farron supports the Government in making NHS cuts and privatisation of hospitals and then he has the cheek to start a campaign to save the Westmoreland General. Which side of the fence does he want to be? greenbell
  • Score: 6

9:15am Mon 14 Apr 14

Gingery says...

I thought Tim had already supposedly 'saved' WGH. Obviously not and now will claim the credit for another 'campaign' based on rumours.

The answer is to vote in May.
I thought Tim had already supposedly 'saved' WGH. Obviously not and now will claim the credit for another 'campaign' based on rumours. The answer is to vote in May. Gingery
  • Score: 1

2:06pm Mon 14 Apr 14

jallison says...

Our hospital must be left with the services it has already, indeed as a regular user of WGH services, it should be expanded. Readers will see that Tim Farron has started a petition on this and I urge readers to put their political differences to one side and support his petition.

I have also put an e-petition on the Downing Street website which reads :

Save Westmorland General Hospital !

Responsible department: Department of Health

We the undersigned call on the Secretary of State for Health to ensure that our local hospital is saved.

We urge GP’s, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust to protect the future Westmorland General Hospital.

We oppose any moves to transfer or gift the hospital site to a third party -we want the site, services and staff to remain in the hands of the NHS.

Readers can sign my petition at : http://epetitions.di
rect.gov.uk/petition
s/63802

Please note, if you sign ,your name will not appear on the e-petition only the total number of signatories.

Please sign and save our hospital services at WGH.

Many thanks

Jim Allison
retired Welfare Rights Lawyer
Our hospital must be left with the services it has already, indeed as a regular user of WGH services, it should be expanded. Readers will see that Tim Farron has started a petition on this and I urge readers to put their political differences to one side and support his petition. I have also put an e-petition on the Downing Street website which reads : Save Westmorland General Hospital ! Responsible department: Department of Health We the undersigned call on the Secretary of State for Health to ensure that our local hospital is saved. We urge GP’s, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust to protect the future Westmorland General Hospital. We oppose any moves to transfer or gift the hospital site to a third party -we want the site, services and staff to remain in the hands of the NHS. Readers can sign my petition at : http://epetitions.di rect.gov.uk/petition s/63802 Please note, if you sign ,your name will not appear on the e-petition only the total number of signatories. Please sign and save our hospital services at WGH. Many thanks Jim Allison retired Welfare Rights Lawyer jallison
  • Score: 5

2:15pm Mon 14 Apr 14

jallison says...

jallison wrote:
Our hospital must be left with the services it has already, indeed as a regular user of WGH services, it should be expanded. Readers will see that Tim Farron has started a petition on this and I urge readers to put their political differences to one side and support his petition.

I have also put an e-petition on the Downing Street website which reads :

Save Westmorland General Hospital !

Responsible department: Department of Health

We the undersigned call on the Secretary of State for Health to ensure that our local hospital is saved.

We urge GP’s, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust to protect the future Westmorland General Hospital.

We oppose any moves to transfer or gift the hospital site to a third party -we want the site, services and staff to remain in the hands of the NHS.

Readers can sign my petition at : http://epetitions.di

rect.gov.uk/petition

s/63802

Please note, if you sign ,your name will not appear on the e-petition only the total number of signatories.

Please sign and save our hospital services at WGH.

Many thanks

Jim Allison
retired Welfare Rights Lawyer
Sorry, but the pagination of my e-petition seems to have been lost in transit, it should read : http://epetitions.di
rect.gov.uk/petition
s/63802
[quote][p][bold]jallison[/bold] wrote: Our hospital must be left with the services it has already, indeed as a regular user of WGH services, it should be expanded. Readers will see that Tim Farron has started a petition on this and I urge readers to put their political differences to one side and support his petition. I have also put an e-petition on the Downing Street website which reads : Save Westmorland General Hospital ! Responsible department: Department of Health We the undersigned call on the Secretary of State for Health to ensure that our local hospital is saved. We urge GP’s, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust to protect the future Westmorland General Hospital. We oppose any moves to transfer or gift the hospital site to a third party -we want the site, services and staff to remain in the hands of the NHS. Readers can sign my petition at : http://epetitions.di rect.gov.uk/petition s/63802 Please note, if you sign ,your name will not appear on the e-petition only the total number of signatories. Please sign and save our hospital services at WGH. Many thanks Jim Allison retired Welfare Rights Lawyer[/p][/quote]Sorry, but the pagination of my e-petition seems to have been lost in transit, it should read : http://epetitions.di rect.gov.uk/petition s/63802 jallison
  • Score: 2

2:26pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Cas220 says...

jallison wrote:
jallison wrote:
Our hospital must be left with the services it has already, indeed as a regular user of WGH services, it should be expanded. Readers will see that Tim Farron has started a petition on this and I urge readers to put their political differences to one side and support his petition.

I have also put an e-petition on the Downing Street website which reads :

Save Westmorland General Hospital !

Responsible department: Department of Health

We the undersigned call on the Secretary of State for Health to ensure that our local hospital is saved.

We urge GP’s, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust to protect the future Westmorland General Hospital.

We oppose any moves to transfer or gift the hospital site to a third party -we want the site, services and staff to remain in the hands of the NHS.

Readers can sign my petition at : http://epetitions.di


rect.gov.uk/petition


s/63802

Please note, if you sign ,your name will not appear on the e-petition only the total number of signatories.

Please sign and save our hospital services at WGH.

Many thanks

Jim Allison
retired Welfare Rights Lawyer
Sorry, but the pagination of my e-petition seems to have been lost in transit, it should read : http://epetitions.di

rect.gov.uk/petition

s/63802
This website does that, it will need to be copied and pasted into the address bar.
[quote][p][bold]jallison[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jallison[/bold] wrote: Our hospital must be left with the services it has already, indeed as a regular user of WGH services, it should be expanded. Readers will see that Tim Farron has started a petition on this and I urge readers to put their political differences to one side and support his petition. I have also put an e-petition on the Downing Street website which reads : Save Westmorland General Hospital ! Responsible department: Department of Health We the undersigned call on the Secretary of State for Health to ensure that our local hospital is saved. We urge GP’s, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust to protect the future Westmorland General Hospital. We oppose any moves to transfer or gift the hospital site to a third party -we want the site, services and staff to remain in the hands of the NHS. Readers can sign my petition at : http://epetitions.di rect.gov.uk/petition s/63802 Please note, if you sign ,your name will not appear on the e-petition only the total number of signatories. Please sign and save our hospital services at WGH. Many thanks Jim Allison retired Welfare Rights Lawyer[/p][/quote]Sorry, but the pagination of my e-petition seems to have been lost in transit, it should read : http://epetitions.di rect.gov.uk/petition s/63802[/p][/quote]This website does that, it will need to be copied and pasted into the address bar. Cas220
  • Score: 0

12:38pm Thu 17 Apr 14

WilliamT says...

This campaign is doomed- as is said above, it is not reasonable for an MP who is a member of the governing coalition (is he not President, or something, of the Lib-Dems?) to pretend it's nothing to do with him.
UHMB is being massively propped up by the DoH, and they can't keep doing this without other areas noticing the special treatment and complaining- some cuts will have to be made.
This campaign is doomed- as is said above, it is not reasonable for an MP who is a member of the governing coalition (is he not President, or something, of the Lib-Dems?) to pretend it's nothing to do with him. UHMB is being massively propped up by the DoH, and they can't keep doing this without other areas noticing the special treatment and complaining- some cuts will have to be made. WilliamT
  • Score: 2

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