The following list is relevant  to West, North and East Cumbria.

Current national coverage of health issues can be seen via the red links 



30 October 2019


 "World cafe" style event at Whitehaven Golf Club for community members and NHS staff to take part in nformal and constructive discussions on changes in our local health services.  We hope to learn more about what is planned, and that the NHS learns from our experiences and knowledge of health services.  We all want to make sure that future services are the best they can be. 

Please join us, your experiences of health and care are important to help shape the services of the future.  Sessions are:

1.30pm until 3.00pm;

3.30pm until 5pm; 

6.00pm until 7.30pm


July 2019

North Cumbria Health and Care brings together organisations "to build a new integrated health and care system together, using our collective capabilities for a healthier and happier population".

Read and comment on their long term plan


7 July 2019 

Stroke awareness - Distington Vintage Rally. 

We supported the Copeland Community Stroke Prevention Project, along with the Rotary Clup, The Stroke Association, North West Ambulance Service, Healthwatch Cumbria, Public Health, pharmacies, the NHS and others. The project raises awareness of stroke prevention and offers blood pressure monitoring and pulse testing to look for atrial fibrillation, both known to significantly increase chances of having a stroke, but both of which can be treated relatively easily


July 2019

A new Community Cancer Nurse service will be launching in North Cumbria in the near future, with support from Macmillan. Clinicians and health leaders would like your input to make sure it provides the support that you need. Find out more

3 July 2019

The North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group Board unanimously accepted the recommendations of the Independent Review Group to keep consultant-led maternity services at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven. The report stressed the importance of the NHS and community Working Together to maintain and improve services

14 June 2019 Stroke awareness - Whitehaven Traders Day in St Nicholas Church grounds

We supported the Copeland Community Stroke Prevention Project, along with the Rotary Clup, The Stroke Association, North West Ambulance Service, Healthwatch Cumbria, Public Health, pharmacies, the NHS and others. The project raises awareness of stroke prevention and offers blood pressure monitoring and pulse testing to look for atrial fibrillation, both known to significantly increase chances of having a stroke, but both of which can be treated relatively easily

  • Distington Vintage Rally on July 7th

High blood pressure and atrial fibrillation are known to significantly increase your chance of having a stroke, but can be treated relatively easily.

  • Cumbria Community Pharmacy is offering testing at four pharmacies in Copeland: Mirehouse Pharmacy, the Seacliffe Pharmacy in Kells, Seascale Pharmacy and Whitehaven Late Night Pharmacy. Anyone who has not been treated for a known medical condition and hasn’t had a recent blood pressure test can be seen and may be asked to use a home monitoring portable blood pressure testing device.

View the Copeland Community Stroke Prevention Project Report


7 June 2019

The Working Together Steering Group, which includes a number of Voice members, met Dr Bill Kirkup, chair of the Independent Review Group to present their views on maternity services at West Cumberland Hospital. The Steering Group presentation and the Independent Review Group's final report can be seen here 


April 2019 The Independent Review Group led by Sir Bill Kirkup completed its twelve month review of the sustainability of maternity services at West Cumberland Hospital on 31 March and will make its recommendations to North Cumbria CCG in early summer. Initial reports that there has been good progress towards Option 1 for maternity and paediatrics - that is, "consultant–led care at the West Cumberland Hospital and a Short Stay Paediatric Assessment Unit at both hospitals with inpatient services in Carlisle and some overnight beds in Whitehaven for less poorly children"

September 2018, The North Cumbria integrated Health and Care system launches a new website bringing together information on the development of a joined-up health and care system for west, north and east Cumbria.  


May 2018, Voice publishes position paper on Stroke services.  The first Hyper-Acute Stroke Unit in Cumbria is being planned - a welcome move. However the HASU will be in Carlisle and patients in the south of our area will have to travel  50-60 miles for treatment, with journey times well outside nationally recommended times. 

The Clinical Commissioning Group explains why they are doing this here.

Voice believes that much more can be done.


26 April 2018, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust 

hold their first joint public board meeting at 1.30pm to 4.30pm in the Cumberland Infirmary Carlisle. 

The Trusts are establishing ways of working more closely together to deliver services. 

All board meetings are open to the public who have the opportunity to raise questions about items on the

agenda when indicated by the Chair.

More information here

23 April 2018,  Workington MP Sue Hayman raises fears for stroke patients.  The MP asked Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to halt plans to centralise acute stroke services for Cumbria in Carlisle. This follows an admission by a senior consultant that the additional travel time of an hour or more for patients living in West Cumbria means that some people may not get life-saving treatment within the recognised four-hour 'window' for stroke victims.  See Sue Hayman's letter here


17 February 2018 The 12 month period to test maternity services at West Cumberland Hospital will begin

in April 2018 Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group announces

9 January 2018  

West Cumbria leads the way in training for medical practice in remote and rural locations.

A new medicine programme, the first of its kind in the UK,  has started at the West Cumberland Medical Education Campus and at West Cumberland Hospital. See the National Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine

January 2018 NHS England launches public consultation on reducing prescribing of over-the-counter

medicines for 33 minor, short-term health concerns

December 2017 The Care Quality Commission (NHS and care service regulators) publish their Local System

Reviews interim report. They find that "avoidable and unintentional harm" is caused to people because the

health and care systems are not working well together. The CQC calls for joined-up approaches to care and

a "continued drive towards integrated commissioning and changes in funding flows".


27 November 2017 Whitehaven News and Star article on IRP initial assessment, including comments

from Voice members


24 November 2017 Cumbria Clinical Commission Group response to the IRP initial assessment of 23 Nov

(see below)

23 November 2017 the Independent Reconfiguration Panel* published their initial assessment on proposed

changes to maternity services in Cumbria.  They considered that a full review would not add any value and

that further local action by the NHS with the HSC could address the issues raised

*the IRP reviews proposals for changes to NHS services that are contested by Council Health Scrutiny

Committees and provide advice to the Secretary of State for Health


3 November 2017 Voice Annual General Meeting.  See Chairman's report here


11 September 2017 The North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group moves from Penrith to 4 Wavell Drive, Rosehill, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA1 2SE. Tel: 01768 245486:  Email:

22 June 2017 The first meeting of the Working Together Steering Group was held with plans for how the community and the NHS can work more collaboratively on the delivery of health and care services consulted upon last year. Details of this and further meetings and working groups can be seen here 


22 March 2017 Cumbria  County Council Health Scrutiny Committee refer maternity services to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt for review. After much confusion the initial decision to also refer the downgrading of paediatrics in Whitehaven and closing community hospital beds in Wigton, Alston and Maryport was dropped. See the draft minutes of the meeting here

8 March 2017, Cumbria CCG decide on the health services for West, North and East Cumbria.  See full report

24 February 2017 Independent Report into consultation on healthcare in West, North and East Cumbria published

9 February 2017  News and Star report on Jan den Bak's support for Adrene Hamilton's letter to the PrimeMinister. He states that alternative ideas for consultant-led maternity services in Whitehaven have not been fully explored.


9 January 2017 News and Star reports that North West Ambulance Service Chief Executive Derek Cartright wrote to Success Regime on 19 December that plans to transfer women more than 40 miles while in labour are not clinically safe

3 January 2016 British Medical Journal publishes article on the political response to NHS pressures by Dr Sarah Wollaston MP  Chair of the Parliamentary Health Select Committee

19 December 2017 11.59pm The West, North and East Cumbria Healthcare for the Future public consultation ended

19 December 2016 Revised analysis of the impact of travel to hospitals and accompanying notes. In the original on 26 October (see below) census figures for some postcode sectors in Whitehaven and Cockermouth had not been included in the totals. 

19 December 2016 Voice writes to Success Regime on research foundation of the safety (or not) of long journeys for maternity care

18 December 2016 Revised Voice response to consultation to include information on new statistics on trauma care (p2 para 3)

16 December2016 Midwives from West Cumberland Hospital write to Success Regime to reiterate concerns on downgrading of maternity services 

5 December 2016 Voice sends response to Stakeholder Regime consultation

13 December 2016 Voice publishes its formal response to the public consultation on Healthcare for the Future in West, North and East Cumbria together with a summary document

14 November 2016 Cllr Rebecca Hanson of Cockermouth publishes report on the implications for childbirth of closing services at West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven

6 November 2016 VOICE  reproduces the Success Regime briefing notes on aspects of the consultation for easy access.  They and related documents can be seen on the consultation website Publications Library page 

1 October 2016 VOICE published series of six briefing notes on the public consultation on The Future of Healthcare in West, North and East Cumbria. A two-page summary of these notes is available here.

26 0ctober 2016 Letter from VOICE to Stephen Childs, CEO of the Cumbria CCG with an analysis of the impact of travel to hospitals 

25 October 2016 Whitehaven News and Times and Star articles quoting VOICE on maternity care

October 2016 VOICE produces briefing notes to help people understand the implicationsof the consultation before making their response (see home page, bottom right)

26 September 2016

The public consultation on possible changes to health services in West, North and East Cumbria was opened for a period of 12 weeks.  See the website here


30 August 2016

Head of Success Regime has sought to reassure pregnant women they will be safe travelling to Carlisle to give birth – but would not go as far as giving a personal guarantee that nobody will die. See newspaper report here

29 June 2016:

Members of VOICE, the Save West Cumberland Hospital action group and Copeland MP Jamie Reed meet Health Minister Ben Gummer to express fears about our health and care services.  See newspaper report here 

28 June 2016:

 Success Regime extends their period of engagement. The public consultation will not now begin until after August 2016.  See the Success Regime statement here.

6 Apr 2016: Success Regime announces a series of public meetings to engage local communities in discussions about the future of healthcare services in the county.  See where and when here 

April 2016:  Book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions or see your medical records online.  See how to here

Also see video guide to sharing your records with your family or the medical professionals you deal with

March 2016 Success Regime: Key Challenges and Basic Facts and Figures  

See the VOICE challenge on population numbers, the A595 and public feeling in West Cumbria


Feb 2016: Success Regime Progress Report See the Success Regime's thinking and emerging options.

See the VOICE response here


15 Feb 2016: Healthwatch Cumbria raises concerns with the Success Regime on lack of information being shared

Read the letter from Healthwatch and the reply from the success Regime


10 Feb 2016: Update Report on Maternity Services Review

Prepared by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for the Cumbria and North Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups


28 Jan 2016:  VOICE responds to Whitehaven News launch of Fight for our Hospital campaign

Download our letter to the Editor (it will appear at the bottom of your screen)


27 Jan 2016: VOICE update on activities


21 Jan 2016: Whitehaven News launches Fight for our Hospital campaign


7 Jan 2016: North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust announces new Chief Executive

North Cumbria Trust announcement of Ann Farrar leaving and Stephen Eames taking up role

Wakefield Express article on Stephen Eames taking up CEO role with North Cumbria Trust


17 Dec 2015: House of Commons debate on access to health services in West Cumbria

Video of adjournment debate with Copeland MP and Shadow Health Minister Jamie Reed and Health Minister Ben Gummer


1 Dec 2015: Success Regime Listening Events

The North Cumbria Success Regime is holding their first public listening events in Whitehaven, Workington (two events) and Carlisle.  Make your voice is heard at these and future events to be announced on their website and here.  See full details of the events here


18 Nov 2015: Open Letter on future of West Cumberland Hospital

 Cumbria’s Health Leaders published an open letter to the community to reassure patients and staff about the future of the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

It outlines several commitments to people living in West Cumbria, including a commitment to maintain a 24 hour a day / 7 days a week Accident and Emergency service at the West Cumberland Hospital.  See open letter from Cumbria's health leaders here


12 Nov 2015: University of Central Lancashire Medical School opens

A new degree will teach medical sciences along with clinical and communication skills out of UCLan’s multi-million pound facilities in Preston, Burnley and Westlakes in Whitehaven


11 November 2015: Discussion document on "A sustainable Model for Health Care in West Cumbria"

A VOICE discussion document written by Dr Barrie Walker was sent to Sir Neil McKay, Chair of the North Cumbria Success Regime and has been widely circulated amongst health professionals and community representatives. Download "A Sustainable Model for Healthcare in Cumbria"


3 June 2015:  West North East Cumbria Success Regime

North Cumbria was identified as one of 3 sites in England along with Essex and Devon where challenges to the health economy were amongst the most challenged. Issues apply system-wide and can only be resolved through collaboration.  NHS Trust Development Authority Announcement on Success Regime


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