Assurances sought over West Cumberland Hospital

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Patients are seeking assurances the revamp of a Cumbria hospital will not lead to a downgrading of services.

More than 400 people attended a public meeting about the plans on Tuesday.

They are concerned about services following the refurbishment of Whitehaven's West Cumberland Hospital, particularly intensive care beds and A&E.

But North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust medical director Mike Walker said services would not be scaled back.

The £90m project at West Cumberland Hospital involves new build and refurbishment of the existing building.

Reverend John Bannister, from the Save our Services campaign, said the community was concerned the redeveloped hospital would be "less than what it is at present".

'Rock solid assurances'

He said the believed the aspirations for the hospital were good but wanted them to be confirmed.

He said: "What this community needs now is rock solid assurances that these services are going to be provided."

Mr Walker said the hospital strategy was being developed by groups of clinicians and he said he believed different perspectives might have led to a lack of clarity.

He said the new model includes an intensive care facility with six beds, the same as currently, and A&E.

He said in his view, services would not be scaled back.

A firm decision should be announced within the next few months, he added.

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