Cumbria

Millom Hospital: No plans for closure, health chiefs say

The health trust running a south-west Cumbrian hospital has said the facility is not closing amid speculation its future was under threat.

The inpatient unit at Millom Hospital has been shut to new admissions since last month because of staff shortages.

Millom Town Council said it had been concerned by "rumours" about the hospital's future.

But the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said speculation the hospital was going to close was untrue.

Town councillor Felicity Wilson said: "We've been hearing all sorts of rumours.

"People have been coming to us with their concerns about the future of Millom Hospital - things that people who work within the NHS have talked about [such as] changes in working practices.

"Millom Hospital is a vital part of our community. It's an excellent little hospital, well-staffed and people have been well taken care of for a vast number of years.

"We would hate for another service to go from our community."

'Operational difficulties'

The hospital houses outpatient services, including a district nurse and physiotherapy.

It also has a nine-bed inpatient ward, which has been closed to new admissions since 21 March.

The health trust admitted there were problems securing sufficient medical cover but said it was working to resolve the issues.

Dr John Haworth, the trust's director for service improvement, told BBC Radio Cumbria: "We've had some operational difficulties, particularly with the medical staffing of the unit.

"We rely on the local practice in Millom for our medical cover and they've had difficulty in recruiting partners to the practice so what we've had to do temporarily is suspend admissions, but there are no plans to close the hospital."

Dr Haworth said the "geographically isolated" nature of the area made it "increasingly challenging" to attract staff.

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