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Summary

  1. Wednesday 8 March 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage throughout the day

Belinda Artingstoll

BBC Cumbria Live

We've now finished our live coverage for today.

It's been a big day for health services in Cumbria today. A reminder of the main points:

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00. In the meantime, if you have a photograph you'd like to share or you have news you think we should know, you can  email us ,   tweet us , or get in touch  through our Facebook page .  

Have a very good evening.

Weather: Dry overnight, dry and fine tomorrow

BBC Weather

It will remain mostly dry with variable cloud and clear spells this evening and overnight. Moderate southwesterly winds and a minimum temperature of 5C (41F).

Another dry and fine day for most tomorrow with sunny spells. Blustery westerly winds will ease with a maximum temperature of 12C (54F).

See the details for your area here.

Weather chart
BBC

Hopes that all of Cumbria will get high speed broadband by 2020

There are renewed hopes that, within three years, all of Cumbria will have access to high speed broadband.

The government says that by 2020, a connection of at least 10mbps will be available to all areas of the county.

Gary Macrae, who owns the Hazel Bank Country House in Borrowdale, says: "It's important that people who come here can use the kit they bring with them. We're aiming to be a World Heritage Site but we don't want that to include third world technology."

Computer cables
BBC

Sculpture to honour Carlisle's 'Cracker Packers'

A sculpture is going to be made to pay tribute to the women known as the 'Cracker Packers' who worked at Carlisle's biscuit factory.

It will be put up in Caldewgate and will feature two women, one from the past and one from the present day.

The award-winning artist, Hazel Reeves, is working on the design.

She said: "It's got to have a sense of humour. They'll be standing on a huge bronze Carr's water biscuit so that will help. But we want to exude the warmth and camaraderie that they share."

Biscuits on production line
BBC

Health care changes 'will not happen overnight'

Health chiefs say the changes to healthcare services will not be immediate and they will not happen before solid plans are put in place.

The changes include most acute surgery, children's services and stroke support being downgraded at Whitehaven in West Cumbria and centralised in Carlisle.

An expected end to consultant-led maternity services in Whitehaven has been shelved for 12 months pending a review of staff recruitment.

The decisions were made by NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group. Its medical director Dr David Rogers said: “Firstly we would like to reassure our community, patients and staff that no services will change overnight. 

"Robust plans will need to be in place before any changes occur. We will need the community’s support to enable us to ensure the transition of these services safely over time."

Midwife concerned about uncertainty of maternity service

A midwife says she is worried there will still be uncertainty despite a decision to retain consultant-led maternity services in Whitehaven for a 12-month trial instead of ending it.

There had been fears that there would be an end to the consultant-led service at West Cumberland Hospital but it has been decided to retain it for a year.

Midwife Bernadette Bowness said: "Why are people going to move here and uproot their families and come to a job where there are no certainties?

"People need to come to an area and a hospital where there are permanent jobs and where we are not constantly under review.

"We need that stability to make our hospital workable."

Bernadette Bowness
BBC

Health chiefs say they listened to feedback

Health chiefs say they have listened to feedback about changes to healthcare in Cumbria and appealed for the community's support as changes are made.

NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group has decided on a range of changes affecting maternity, stroke, emergency and children's care as well as about community hositals.

CCG’s chief executive Stephen Childs said: “We have listened to the feedback we received during the public consultation. 

"We have been very clear about the challenges we face and members of the public have shared their concerns about the risks. 

"We hope we have found a way forward, but we will need the support of everyone – NHS staff, the community, the groups we have been engaging with throughout the process as well as other health professionals, to try to ensure safe and sustainable services into the future."

Decision on maternity unit is a 'window of opportunity

West Cumbria will keep consultant-led maternity care for at least another 12 months, after health bosses decided to postpone one of the Cumbria Success Regime's recommendations.

The CCG, which funds much of the county's healthcare services, is giving the unit at the West Cumberland Hospital the time to prove that it's viable.

Mike Starkie, the mayor of Copeland says the decision has given the area a 'window of opportunity' to keep consultant-led care in the long term.

Protestors and placards
BBC

Campaigners react to decision to close community hospital beds

Campaigners who were fighting to stop beds being lost in some of the county's community hospitals say they're very disappointed by a decision to close beds at three of them.

The Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group made the decision at a meeting in Workington today, as part of a review of local hospital services.

The beds will go at Alston, Wigton and Maryport hospitals.

Billl Barnes is from the 'Save Our Beds' campaign for Maryport Hospital. 

Speaking outside today's meeting he said: "I can't say I'm surprised. What I'm very disappointed by is there was no mention in that meeting of the part the community hospital plays in the whole situation. Every one of those beds in Maryport relieves an acute bed."

Maryport hospital
BBC

Weather: Dry and bright this afternoon, dry overnight

BBC Weather

A mostly dry and bright afternoon with sunny spells. Gusty westerly winds easing and a maximum temperature of 11C (52F).

It will remain mostly dry with variable cloud and clear spells this evening and overnight. Moderate southwest winds and a minimum temperature of 5C (41F).

See the details for your area here.

Weather chart
BBC

Cumbria healthcare changes: Round-up of key decisions

After months of consultation and campaigning, health bosses have decided on the future shape of hospital services in North, West and East Cumbria.

Members of of the Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group met in Workington today to vote on proposals put forward by the Success Regime.

These are the headlines:  

Protestors with placards
BBC

All the decisions will need to be discussed by the County Council's Health Scrutiny Committee later this month before they can be implemented.  

More changes to health services in Cumbria approved

The Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, made up of local GPs, has now approved the recommendations on emergency and stroke care.

The Success Regime, which was asked to look at the future of local hospital services, recommended that 24/7 services be retained at hospitals in Whitehaven and Carlisle, but that Carlisle would have slightly more intensive care beds and deal with more complex cases.

They also proposed that patients suffering strokes would all be managed in a unit in Carlisle at first, although they could be transferred back to an acute unit in Whitehaven if they required more treatment.

All the decisions made today will need to be discussed by the County Council's Health Scrutiny Committee later this month before they can be implemented.

Protestors
BBC

WI members in south Cumbria mark International Women's Day

More than 200 Women's Institute members from across south Cumbria will gather in Ulverston today to mark International Women's Day.

Speakers will cover topics ranging from education in Rwanda to nursing in Nepal. There'll also be a Thai cookery demonstration and a competition to put on an Indian sari.

Ruth Rigg, who chairs the Cumbria-Westmorland Federation of WIs says: "We do embrace women all over the world and the challenges they face."

People with placards
BBC

Beds to be closed in three community hospitals

Health bosses have voted to close inpatient beds at the hospitals in Alston, Wigton and Maryport.

This follows a recommendation from the Success Regime which was set up to look at the future of hospital services.

Members of the Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group have approved the plans at a meeting in Workington today.

Campaigners in all three towns had campaigned vigorously to keep the beds (Mayport protest pictured below).

Our political reporter Bob Cooper says the NHS says it will continue to work with those communities to develop other care options.

Maryport hospital protest
BBC

Former police officer admits more child sex offences

A former Cumbrian police officer has been told he could be sent to prison, after admitting more child sex offences.

Nick Pool, who is 29 and lives near Penrith, appeared at Carlisle Crown Court in January, when he admitted three offences.

Today he sobbed as he pleaded guilty to another 11 offences. They included attempting to cause a child to engage in sexual activity and making and possessing indecent photographs of children.

He was remanded in custody and is expected to be sentenced at the end of next month.

Majority of children's hospital care to be based in Carlisle

Members of Cumbria's Clinical Commissioning Group have approved recommendations to base the main inpatients' unit for children at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.

A short-stay ward for observation, and some overnight beds for youngsters with less acute illnesses will remain at at the West Cumberland in Whitehaven.

Our political reporter Bob Cooper says that it's been suggested at today's meeting of the CCG in Workington that there could be no children's beds there at all in the future.

Health bosses vote to keep consultant-led maternity service

Members of the Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group have voted to keep the consultant-led maternity service at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

But this will be for a 12-month trial.

Concerns were raised at the meeting in Workington today that recruitment problems in the NHS in Cumbria would make the plan unworkable. 

There has been strong opposition to any downgrading of the unit to a midwife-led service. 

Health bosses discussing whether maternity proposal is workable

Concern is being raised that 12 months isn't long enough to solve the recruitment issues which would make the proposed retention of a consultant-led unit at the West Cumberland Hospital workable.

Some at a meeting in Workington today are keen to avoid paying 'lip service' to maintaining the service only for it to be downgraded to a midwife-led unit in the end anyway.

Cumbria's Clinical Commissioning Group is discussing plans for the future of hospital care in North, West and East Cumbria.

Campaigners are keen for services not to be moved from Whitehaven to Carlisle.

Hospitals: Consultation reveals just how much opposition there is

More than 5,000 people responded to a consultation document about the changes the Success regime suggested for hospitals across North, West and East Cumbria . More than one third said they did not support any of the proposals, while others did not comment.

Many of the proposals suggest centralising consultant-led services in Carlisle, because of the difficulty of recruiting medical and other staff to Whitehaven. You can see the report on the response here .

Map showing trip from Whitehaven to Carlisle
Google

This map explains one of the largest issues - that mothers having difficult deliveries, parents with children suffering any acute illness, patients suffering a stroke or their relatives wanting to visit, would all be directed to Carlisle, a difficult journey on a poor road.

Of those who expressed an opinion on maternity services in Whitehaven, where the preferred option is a midwife-led unit dealing only with straightforward deliveries, 85% wanted the existing consultant-led department left as it was.

Another controversial area is a proposal to take inpatient beds out of cottage hospitals in Maryport, Alston and Wigton.

In Maryport, doctors and local people have come forward with their own set of proposals .

Health bosses asked to approve proposals for child and stroke care

Members of Cumbria's Clinical Commissioning Group are being asked to approve proposals on the future of various hospital services. This would include moving some of them from Whitehaven to Carlisle.

The CCG still has to vote on this.

View more on twitter

Health boss praises hospital campaigners

The man who has overseen the consultation process on changes to hospital services in North, West and East Cumbria has praised members of the public who have made their views known.

Sir Neil McKay is the chair of the Success Regime which was asked to look at different ways of running the services in the future.

View more on twitter

Health bosses recommended to keep consultant-led maternity services

Health officials are recommending keeping consultant-led midwifery services at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven for 12 months.

The recommendation is on the agenda for today's meeting of Cumbria's Clinical Commissioning Group in Workington.

Another recommendation is to remove beds from Maryport, Alston and Wigton community hospitals.

The CCG still has to vote on all of the proposals.

There has been strong public opposition to suggestions that some services should be moved to Carlisle.

Health plans revealed today for North, West and East Cumbria

Health bosses will be revealing their decision on the future of hospital services in North, West and East Cumbria today.

There has been heavy criticism of some of the proposals.

View more on twitter

Hospitals: Who's taking the decisions?

The meeting considering controversial changes in hospital services across a stretch of Cumbria from St Bees Head to Alston, involves the governing body of the Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group . So just who are they?

The CCG is run by GPs under a system supposed to make sure decisions are made locally in the interests of local people. They effectively get a budget with which they buy health services from hospitals trusts and other providers.

They will decide which of the changes preferred by the Success Regime management team, brought in to sort out problems in the health services, will go forward.

That decision will be examined by Cumbria County Council's Health Scrutiny Committee , which can either agree the changes, in which case they will go forward, or refer them to the Department of Health.

Ministers would ask an Independent Configuration Panel to examine them, before making a decision.

Weather: Dry and bright today

BBC Weather

A mostly dry and bright day with patchy cloud and sunny spells.

Gusty southwesterly winds and a maximum temperature of 11C (52F).

See the details for your area here.

Weather chart
BBC

Watch: What are the proposals for healthcare in Cumbria?

Sharon Barbour

BBC Look North

BBC Look North health reporter Sharon Barbour looks at the main issues which will be decided on by health bosses in Cumbria today.

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Cumbrian businesses wait for the Budget later today

Businesses across Cumbria will be waiting to hear what the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, will produce from his red box when he delivers the final Spring budget.

Future budget statements will be in the Autumn.

Gerry Garvey who runs the Muddy Boots nursery in Penrith says: "The government, in its manifesto, talked about 30 hours free childcare and investment in childcare. Unfortunately the money's not enough. Nurseries are already having to close."   

Philip Hammond
BBC

The hospitals debate: The options managers prefer

Today's meeting follows a series of proposals from the  Success Regime , a management team brought in to sort out the problems in hospitals in north, east and west Cumbria. You can see all the reports about the proposals here .

  • The preferred maternity option is to have only low risk deliveries at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, in a stand-alone midwife-led unit. All other deliveries would be in Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary.
  • The preferred option for children's services is to have the main inpatients' unit at Carlisle, with a short-stay ward for observation, and overnight beds for youngsters with less acute illnesses.
  • In community hospitals, the only inpatient beds in the preferred option would be in Whitehaven (Copeland Unit), Cockermouth, Workington, Penrith, Brampton and Keswick. Alston, Wigton and Maryport would lose their beds.
  • The preferred option for accident and emergency has 24/7 services at hospitals in Whitehaven and Carlisle, but Carlisle would have slightly more intensive care beds and deal with more complex cases.
  • Patients suffering strokes would all be managed in a unit in Carlisle at first, in the preferred option, although they could be transferred back to an acute unit in Whitehaven if they required more treatment.

The main reasons these options were preferred included problems recruiting staff to the West Cumbrian hospital, and the benefits of being in a unit with more equipment and highly trained staff. Cost, officials insist, was not a major factor.

Good morning: This is BBC Cumbria Live

Belinda Artingstoll

BBC Cumbria Live

The news today will be dominated by a meeting in Workington, where proposals to change a number of hospital services in North, West and East Cumbria will be discussed.

We'll be keeping you up to date with events there. You'll also find links to all the official reports and other background information.

As always, we'll keep an eye on other news, travel reports and provide a regular weather forecast. If you have a photograph you'd like to share or you have news you think we should know, you can  email ustweet us   or get in touch  through our Facebook page   .