We had high hopes for the Success Regime. We hoped it would show the way to a new integrated model for health care, something along the lines described by Dr Barrie Walker in A Sustainable Model for Healthcare. We have been disappointed. The clear, fresh thinking we anticipated was absent, even on the narrower consultation the NHS undertook, the information we needed to assess the impact of what they proposed was missing.
On transport we were looking for real facts and figures on how far people would have to travel for maternity, stroke and other crucial health services. How long would it take us to get there? What would that mean for our chances of life and good health? How would our families cope with a 40 or even 60 mile journey along poor roads to visit us?
West Cumbria has some of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the county. What does it mean to have to travel to Carlisle by poor roads and impossible public transport links when you do not have the money to pay for taxis or have anyone to care for your children or elderly relatives?
Finding we have been asked to work with a lack of information on these issues, Jon Ward of VOICE calculated how long it takes to get from our home or place of work to Carlisle (never mind how long it takes for an ambulance to get to you). How long it takes to transfer women who may need a caesarean from Whitehaven Hospital to Carlisle. These are not just sums, they matter hugely to every single one of us who may be affected now or in the future. See Jon's work here and his covering letter to Stephen Childs, Chief Executive of the Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group here.
We give here the figures which show that it is us, the population of West Cumbria, who are most disadvantaged by the proposals put forward by the Success Regime and its NHS partners. We, our families, our friends and our neighbours are the people who are most likely to suffer from ill health, inability to visit relatives, and even death because of the changes to healthcare about to be imposed on us. These changes will take us further than anyone else in the country from the healthcare services we need.