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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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MP steps into protest row over Millom hospital’s future

UNDER-FIRE health chiefs were due to meet an MP today to discuss the future of a town’s hospital in the wake of a protest march attended by 1,500 residents.

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust representatives were to meet Copeland MP Jamie Reed to discuss fears over the future of Millom Community Hospital, in Lapstone Road.

Mr Reed has backed the community in Millom, saying he will not let Millom Hospital fall victim of cuts.

Jenny Brumby, 42, of Millom, played a key role in organising Wednesday’s march, which coincided with the hospital’s last inpatient leaving the ward.

She said: “The march was amazing and really brought the morale back to Millom. Everyone got involved and I think it was one of the best things to happen to the town.”

Mrs Brumby added that she was thrilled to hear about Mr Reed’s meeting.

She said: “I’m absolutely behind him 100 per cent. He’s been very understanding and came to one of our meetings on Sunday at very short notice.”

The trust is standing by its previous statement that the hospital is not closing and there are no plans to close it.

It says the inpatient ward, though temporarily closed since April due to lack of medical cover, is due to reopen as soon as the problem is resolved.

To help ease the fears of the Millom community, the trust offered to meet with the march organisers, in addition to its meeting with Mr Reed today.

A spokesman for the trust said: “We have offered a meeting with the organisers on Thursday and Friday this week but these have been declined. We are waiting to hear when they are free to meet us.”

Mrs Brumby said they rejected the meeting because they felt pressured and it was not on their terms.

During his talks with the trust, Mr Reed is expected to raise the subject of holding a public health meeting.

He said: “There is an urgent need for a public meeting in the town – which I would chair – whereby the trust can listen to the people of Millom and answer their questions.

“This meeting should take place as soon as possible, within the next 14 days. I trust that the trust will be able to attend and that they will confirm a suitable date as soon as possible.”

No date has been set for the reopening of the hospital’s inpatient ward.

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