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Homepage » Get involved » Consultation

Healthcare for the Future Public Consultation

This consultation ended on 19 December 2016.
View final decision information Here|


The health and social care system in West, North and East Cumbria faces a number of challenges. 
Overall the health of our local population is not as good as in other parts of the country.

Locally the NHS finds it very difficult to attract the doctors, nurses, paramedics and other staff that are needed to deliver services. 
Some people are admitted to hospital, or stay too long in hospital, when they should have received care at home or in the community.

HealthCare|The NHS in this area has significantly overspent its budget over a number of years. The Care Quality Commission, which inspects and regulates health and social care services, has declared some of our services to be either inadequate or in need of improvement.

We can address these challenges and ensure a bright and vibrant future for services delivered in this area. In order to ensure this, we need health and social care services that work together more effectively, we need to live within our budget and we need to develop safe, quality services which attract the necessary staff.

We also need to make some changes to the way services are delivered now. If we fail to make these changes we will not be able to maintain decent services into the future. This is what we mean when we say our health and care services need to be “sustainable”. The Healthcare for the Future public consultation, which ran until 19 December 2016, was about these changes.

Select Here| for more information on the consultation website.

Select Here|  for the full Independent Analysis Report

Select Here| for the Executive Summary of the  Independent Analysis Report

Select Here to view Appendices A - G|

Select Here to view Appendix H|

Select Here| for information on the Healthcare For The Future Decision Making Meeting


Helme Chase Public Consultation

This consultation ended on 4 November 2016.
View final decision information Here|


Helme Chase is a standalone midwifery-led unit at Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal - part of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. 
Women who are assessed as having a low risk pregnancy (i.e. they are unlikely to develop any complications during their pregnancy, while giving birth or after the baby is born) are able to give birth at Helme Chase. 

The unit has a homely environment and is staffed by experienced midwives and clinical support workers.

Click Here| for more information about Helme Chase. 

In December 2014 an interim change was introduced at Helme Chase which means that the unit operates an on call service overnight and during weekends and bank holidays. As such, during these times staff do not stay on the unit unless they are caring for a woman in labour but are at home and will meet a woman at the unit to provide care as required, or at the woman's home if her preference is to be assessed there. The unit is staffed during the day to provide a range of services.


So a labour and delivery service is still available 24/7 at Helme Chase. However, following the birth, community midwives now provide postnatal care in a woman’s own home rather than in the unit. Over recent years there has been a national shift towards women who have had uncomplicated births requiring no medical input or ongoing medical care going home within hours of the baby’s birth, with postnatal care being provided at home and in the community. This is because home is usually seen as the best place to recover following delivery.

In the first 15 months the change released more than 3,000 hours of clinical time which the Trust has used to provide greater continuity of care to pregnant women, so that they don't see several different midwives and to provide more convenient antenatal appointments, such as during evenings. The Trust is also looking at the possibility of increasing drop-in clinics in community centres, children’s centres and pre-school groups. These are all things that women have said are important to them. In addition, the Helme Chase midwives are now able to work flexibly across the Trust, which means they are able to gain experience of working in the busier units.

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection during 2015, which reported in December 2015, a year after the interim change was made, gives Helme Chase a rating of good in all areas - safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.

The NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning (CCG) Group and the Trust would welcome more births at Helme Chase and are keen to promote the unit as a place of delivery for local women who are assessed as being low risk. A number of plans are in place to raise awareness of the unit including open days and much more public information about the services provided there.

NHS Cumbria CCG is now proposing that this interim change is made permanent and is seeking views about this.

Select Here| for more information on the consultation.

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