Cumbria hospitals trust takeover date announced

Hospital sign
Image caption Whitehaven's West Cumberland Hospital and Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary are being taken over

A date for the takeover of two hospitals in Cumbria has been agreed.

It follows the acceptance last year by North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust that it was not strong enough to survive on its own.

There had been financial problems and some medical staff said they had no faith in management.

A deal was reached for it to be taken over by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. It has now been agreed this will happen on 1 October.

Both organisations said they were working to join some clinical and corporate services areas together.

Last month it also emerged that the Cumbrian trust, which runs Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, was among 14 being investigated over high mortality rates.

'Important journey'

Ann Farrar, interim chief executive at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said: "It is certainly no secret that North Cumbria has faced many challenges over recent years, with higher than expected mortality rates and significant financial constraints.

"We are now at the start of a very long and important journey of improvement."

Jim Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Our integration plans will enable our new organisation to streamline pathways of care for patients, and will also generate significant efficiencies by reducing duplication and allowing us to reinvest in frontline patient care."

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said in a statement that it was too early to tell what the restructure may mean for jobs.

It added: "The RCN welcomes the commitment to reduce duplication and invest more money in front line services.

"This will be echoed by nursing and other staff in the trust who have been calling for the right resources at the right time to deliver safe, effective care and it will have a significant impact on improving morale."

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