Cumbria maternity services: Report recommends consultant-led units

West Cumberland Hospital Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Health bosses say they have no preferred option for maternity services

A new report into the future of maternity services in Cumbria has stressed the need for consultants, rather than midwives, to be in charge.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists study follows concerns about the safety of women and babies at units in Cumbria and North Lancashire.

The report urges the retention of four consultant-led units at Carlisle, Whitehaven, Barrow and Lancaster.

But it also acknowledges investment in staff and resources is required.

The report was commissioned by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Cumbria and North Lancashire and comes in the wake of criticism of some maternity services

'Safe and sustainable'

Dr David Rogers, medical director of NHS Cumbria CCG, said: "We know how important maternity services are for the local population and the preferred option is consistent with our intentions.

"However, these services need to be high quality, safe and sustainable and there is much work that needs to be done with both trusts to overcome the significant challenges that they face."

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, medical director at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, added: "We have been very clear about our concerns relating to the sustainability of maternity services and these concerns are clearly reflected within this report.

"This, alongside concerns raised by the chief inspector of hospitals last year, instigated this independent review process.

"We will now discuss the recommendations with our board and staff to understand their views."

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