Cumbria

Maryport Cottage Hospital bed cut plans protested

Maryport Cottage Hospital
Image caption Maryport's 13-bed Victoria Cottage Hospital is one of several in the county under review

A rally has been held in protest over plans to reduce services at a Cumbrian hospital.

Maryport's 13-bed Victoria Cottage Hospital is one of several in the county under review by a government body called the Success Regime.

Supporters of the Save Our Beds (SOB) campaign, who gathered outside the hospital earlier, argue it is a "vital" asset.

The Success Regime said no decision would be made until later in the year.

A spokesman said the organisation was glad patients were "passionate" about their health service and it was considering "emerging ideas" about health care in the county.

'A special place'

Maryport currently has 13 beds providing nursing, rehabilitation, and end of life care. Last year it looked after 250 patients.

Proposals include shutting inpatient beds and turning the hospital into a community care hub providing outpatient care.

That would mean patients having to travel six miles (9.6km) to Workington or Cockermouth for inpatient treatment.

Image caption Proposals put forward include shutting inpatient beds

Bill Barnes, chairman of the Ewanrigg & Netherton Tenants & Residents' Association, which is organising the campaign, said: "This hospital has a special place in the hearts of Maryport people.

"There won't be many who haven't been touched by it in one way or another."

The Success Regime said there were "deep rooted issues" with health services in Cumbria including "an ongoing challenge of providing decent services to rural, remote and isolated communities".

Cottage - or community - hospitals face "great challenges in recruitment, meeting safe staffing levels and providing medical cover", it added.

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