Cumbria gathers for Community Hospital meeting in Westminster ahead of Chamber Debate
Prior to Thursday’s House of Commons debate on community hospitals, a record number of Cumbrian community hospital staff came to Parliament yesterday, where they met with Rory. A significant number of attendees at the Westminster tea, celebrating the work of community hospitals in Britain, were from Cumbria. They included Val Ogilvy, Sister at Wigton Hospital; Maureen Goldwater and Patricia Birtle, Sisters at Workington Community Hospital; Dr John Howath, GP at Cockermouth; Ann Taylor, Sister at Cockermouth Hospital; and Helen Boit, Sister at Penrith & Eden Community Hospital.
Dr. Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the cross-party and non-governmental organisation CHANT (Community Hospitals Acting Nationally Together) said: “Cumbria has been one of the national leaders in community hospitals. We are all learning from Cumbria, and it was wonderful to see Cumbria represented here today in such strength.”
Dr. John Howarth, Cockermouth GP and Director of Integration at Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust, said: “One in four Cumbrians signed petitions to save their community hospitals in 2005, and they won. Since then they have achieved extraordinary results, including lower acute admissions than anyone in the north-west, and very high patient satisfaction levels with the service they receive. We have to ensure these unique Cumbrian assets are supported and treasured and developed.”
Rory said: “Cumbria’s community hospitals really are setting the national standard. Five years ago we were in crisis and facing mass closure. Now we are providing a national lead and example. Our community hospitals, and their Leagues of Friends, are needed now more than ever, and they are helping to shape national policy. We need to show how our community hospitals are helping during hard winters, when acute hospitals have found it difficult to operate without community beds, also avoiding costly acute admissions, and highlight the important work they do as centres for diagnostic and ancillary treatment. There is a growing place for our community hospitals, and – as ever – Cumbria is leading the way.”