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Friday, 03 July 2015

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Millom on-call doctor bid gathers momentum

MORE than 1,000 people have signed up to a petition calling for the return of an on-call doctor service.

Millom town councillors held a meeting with Dr Craig Melrose, medical director of Cumbria Health on Call , on Tuesday night to present the petition.

The petition had been left in Millom post office and shops in the area for the last month.

Dr Melrose has promised to take the petition and report the concerns to Cumbria Commissioning Group.

He said: “I have every sympathy for people in Millom. They pay their taxes and they want a health service that works.

“However, geographically Millom is very isolated and there are practical problems and problems with staffing in providing out-of-hours services.”

Millom mayor Councillor Janice Brown said: “I got the distinct impression he was very sympathetic.

“We put the point across that Cumbria is a very big area – it’s not like Millom is a village or just a couple of houses.

“The petition has just been sitting in the shops, we haven’t been out canvassing in the street or anything and yet it still has 1,260 signatures.”

However, Dr Melrose said CHoC is meeting guidelines set by the CCG, which say that GPs must see 95 per cent of urgent cases within three hours, and 95 per cent of routine cases within six hours.

“I am actually pleased with how we are doing in Millom compared to some areas of the county,” he said.

Councillor Jack Park, who also attended the meeting, described a case where a doctor had not been able to provide a death certificate for an elderly man during the night.

“He had a heart attack at night and died. They couldn’t get a doctor to come out and sign the death certificate afterwards” he said.

“We’re a town of 8,000 people – we have always been poorly serviced.’’

Dr Melrose said over the last six months CHoC had received 718 calls for out-of-hours services, and that the numbers did not justify a permanent on-call service.

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