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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Millom health services set for major revamp

THOUSANDS of Millom residents who took to the streets could see their protests pay off with a proposed major revamp of health services in the town.

50062949B002.jpg
people power The huge march in May in protest over fears that Millom Hospital was to close HARRY ATKINSON REF: 50062949B002

NHS managers are working alongside community activists formulating a business case to expand Millom Hospital and provide improved services.

Although full details are yet to be announced, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), which runs the hospital, has already purchased St George’s Hall in Lapstone Road from The Diocese of Carlisle, and has secured funding to demolish the dilapidated building to make way for a much-needed car park.

But local NHS bosses are also bidding for cash from NHS England to meet the demands of Millom residents.

Jenny Brumby, a founding member of Millom Health Action Group (MHAG), said: “The community is working in alliance with the NHS.

“We have hurt each other in the past but things are working now. The NHS are really listening to the community, and I don’t think anything like this has been done before.”

MHAG formed after rumours about the future of Millom Hospital boiled over when it temporarily closed to new admissions, due to a lack of GP coverage.

Around 2,000 residents marched through the streets in a bud to “save” the hospital – which has since re-opened.

But Kath Hughes, from the CPFT, said the incident led to the trust forming a steering group, known as Millom Alliance, alongside representatives from NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which controls the county’s health budget, and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay, which runs the areas major hospitals.

She said: “A lot of other concerns came up after the march around healthcare in Millom, not just surrounding the hospital.

“We have got the hospital back open but we are working to address other concerns.”

Regular meetings are under way to determine how increase the quality and variety of services in the town.

It is hoped the work would prevent residents having to travel to Barrow, Whitehaven and Kendal for some routine services.

More details from the business case should be announced later in the year.

Millom is used to cover from six GPs, but the town is being serviced by three after retirements and difficulty recruiting.

In the short term measures have been put in place to relieve pressure on GPs, said Ms Hughes.

Cover has been drafted in from Barrow, and Cumbria Health on Call, which deals with emergency call outs, has provided an extra doctor to cover day call outs preventing GPs from having to leave the surgery.

The town is also piloting a minor ailments scheme in Boots and Rowlands Pharmacy, which Ms Hughes and Mrs Brumby said had been “fantastic”.

Millom’s only GP surgery, Waterloo House, relocated from its former home on Wellington Street to within Millom Hospital.

Although the move was due to problems with Waterloo House, Pauline Preston, acting service manager at the hospital, says it has proved mutually beneficial.

She said: “If we needed extra pain relief, we used to have to go to Waterloo House for a prescription but now we can just ring through to reception, it just speeds up the care.”

Ms Brumby is planning to host a weekly “information window” in Crown Street, providing advice on health provision in the area.

Have your say

its nice to see people standing together, its a shame they coldnt have done this when all the factories were being closed down, millom needs alot more than just a place to die,

Posted by jack on 28 July 2014 at 17:26

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