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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Apology over Millom hospital scare

ANGRY residents and their MP have received an apology from two NHS bodies after poor communication over hospital changes.

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questions Residents concerned over the future Millom Community Hospital gathered in the Beggar’s Theatre to hear from NHS representatives JON GRANGER REF: 50063338B001

Copeland MP and shadow health minister Jamie Reed came to the Beggar’s Theatre, in Market Square, Millom, yesterday. He was joined by representatives from Cumbria CCG and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, who run Milom Community Hospital.

The meeting was arranged by Mr Reed and the trust following months of turmoil surrounding the town’s healthcare services.

It began with Mr Reed praising the work of the town’s action group, led by Jenny Brumby, of Millom.

He then introduced the board comprised of South Cumbria CCG network manager Anthony Gardner, chairman of the trust Mike Taylor, and director of service improvement at the trust Dr John Howarth.

Mrs Brumby was the first in the audience to speak, criticising the board for their slow response and lack of communication regarding the issues in Millom.

She said: “We’re not happy that only four beds are opening on Monday. We’re not happy that we will have to wait until August for another doctor.

“If we don’t get our services back we will march again, and this time there will be 10,000 people marching. We will continue to fight for all our services.”

Her speech was met with massive applause from the audience and approval from Mr Reed.

When the meeting progressed the floor was opened up and all members of the audience were invited to ask questions.

During a response from the board, both Mr Gardner and Dr Howarth apologised to the community for their poor communication throughout the process.

Mr Reed told the audience how rare it was that an apology would come from organisations like the CCG or the trust.

Further questions were asked, ranging from concerns specific to Millom to national issues with healthcare.

Dr Richard Walker, of the surgery, fielded some of the audience’s queries.

He said: “It’s eight years we’ve been waiting for a new surgery. In my experience with the NHS, things only happen when there’s a crisis.

“This is Millom’s crisis. We need to do more to make our area more inviting to new doctors.”

Millom Hospital closed to inpatients in April, sparking rumours of permanent closure. The trust was initially unable to say when the inpatient ward would be reopened.

Fears within the community reached a climax when on May 7 1,500 Millom residents took to the streets and marched to show their anger at the situation, organised through Mrs Brumby’s Facebook group, titled Save Millom Community Hospital.

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