Rory Promotes Cumbrian Model as he Fights for Community Hospitals in Parliamentary Debate
Rory argued the nation should learn from Cumbrian community hospitals in a House of Commons debate on the future of community hospitals.
Rory – who is also Treasurer of the APPG on Rural Services – used the debate to highlight the essential healthcare services that community hospitals provide to residents within rural communities. He argued that the network of support from local charities, which often use their community hospital as a focal point, provides a level of local care, built on local knowledge and compassion, which just would not be otherwise available. Citing examples from his own constituency, he mentioned the essential work of charitable organisations like Eden Carers, Hospice at Home, CRUSE bereavement, The Eden Valley Hospice, Alzheimers and the air ambulance and Mountain Rescue teams in ensuring that even isolated residents could still receive the care they need. Together they meant that admissions to Cumbrian hospitals were seventy per cent lower than in other parts of the North-West.
He argued that the key challenge for the future of healthcare is that facing ageing communities, where again Cumbria was a national example. Speaking in the debate, Rory said: “With over one third of constituents about to be over 65, and the number over 85 doubling, what we often need is not necessarily the technical expertise of the acute hospitals, but the preventative care led from community hospitals.”
Rory has worked closely with the Community Hospital Association, his constituency’s Leagues of Friends representatives, made several visits to local community hospitals, and hosted two Cumbrian community hospital visits to parliament in the last few months. Far from competing with Acute hospitals, Rory suggested that Acute Hospitals often rely on their satellite community hospitals for supplementary diagnostic and ancillary treatment, as well as much needed extra bed capacity. Furthermore, he argued community hospitals could – following the model pioneered by Dr.John Howarth at Cockermouth – act as a central hub bringing medical professionals, volunteers, and community organisations together to help people remain healthier longer. It is for this reason that he has called on the Department of Health to increase its budget for community directed care