CEO pays tribute to work of community groups as CCG take ‘difficult but right decision’

Claire Molloy, the Chief Executive of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has paid tribute to the work of community groups in Cumbria as NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group decide to approve the preferred option (option 1) to close beds in Maryport, Wigton and Alston but crucially to implement this through the work that has been undertaken by the community groups.

Claire Molloy said, “I think the Clinical Commissioning Group has made the right decision under very difficult circumstances.  Their decision, which our Board of Directors supports, provides the right balance between being able to operationally sustain community hospital beds and our ambition to provide more care out of hospital in our communities.  

“We are facing significant operational difficulties in staffing the in-patient wards day in day out and the inpatient ward at Alston is very fragile currently.  It is not fair to our staff or our local communities to continue in this way and temporary closures of these units will continue unless we do things differently.

 “We also know that the national and local evidence shows that we need to provide more care outside hospital setting.  Supporting patients at home is better for them: if we can get the system working well, it is proven to have faster recovery times  - we have seen this with the hospital at home service in Carlisle for example.

“Following the decision, I am clear that changes will not happen overnight – it is likely that they will be phased over the next few years and the timescale is ours to determine.  We will only close beds when we are confident in alternative service models unless we have to in order to ensure a safe service.  

“I did say at the start of this process that we needed to come up with a more attractive offer for the people of Alston, Wigton and Maryport and by working with partners and community groups we have been able to make a great deal of progress.

“In Maryport we believe we have found a way to improve community services to reduce the reliance on community hospital beds.

“In Alston and Wigton there is more work to do with partners and communities to develop the options. This is the start of that step change we must take on our journey to develop integrated care communities and provide more care outside hospital settings.  

“The decision has been significantly improved through the hard work, dedication and spirit shown by groups of people in our communities who have been willing to bring their ideas to the table and really get to know the challenges that we face.   I especially want to thank the community hospital league of friends in Maryport, Alston and Wigton, the Maryport save our beds and other local community groups, local GPs, and staff who have come together to find a way forward that gives our communities a better deal.

“Now it is important that we progress the proposals with community groups having a real opportunity to influence change to develop healthcare for the future.”

Find out more about the Healthcare for the Future consultation decisions on the CCG website here: