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Working Together During Covid

2020 has been a challenging year for the NHS and we are very grateful to our community for the support and kindness shown to our staff.

We have continued to connect with our community since the first lockdown in March, and this relationship is very important.

There are online joint meetings of the West Cumbria Community Forum and the Carlisle and Eden Community Forum. These are chaired by the Archdeacon of West Cumberland Richard Pratt and hosted by Healthwatch Cumbria. If you want to get involved please contact me or Healthwatch direct on

Our Copeland Community Stroke Prevention Project group has continued to meet and moved our planned face to face ‘blood pressure checking events’ into online activity. Our stroke advice banner and handy information has been displayed at:

•    Cleator Moor Co-op (pictured below)
•    Dixon’s in Whitehaven
•    Tesco in Whitehaven

Copeland Community Stroke Prevention Project Banner.png

The group has also set up a Facebook group to share stroke prevention information. You can find us and like us (and share our posts) on Facebook @CopelandStrokePrevention

If you know of a store or other area where we could safely share information to support people to take better care of their health, please get in touch with me.

Our Working Together Group has kept in touch and we had a really helpful workshop looking at how to share the message around taking up the flu vaccine on 7 September.

We also linked up with our Practice Participation Groups in November.

If you want to get involved please get in touch - drop me an email directly on  and I’ll respond as quickly as I am able.

In the meantime the Co-production Toolkit and our Co-production Strategy is available for you to browse. 

Keep in touch and stay safe


Meetings in 2020

Joint West Cumbria & 
Carlisle and Eden Community Forum
WCCF/CECF meetings:
12 June
17 July
11 September
16 October
27 November
Additional sessions on breast services:
4 September
27 October
Copeland Community Stroke Prevention Project (CCSPP) workshops 8 June
22 June
28 July
4 September
21 September
3 October
20 October
10 November

Why Co-production?

The NHS faces increasing demands and is grappling with challenges over workforce.

More than ever, the NHS must collaborate with people, organisations and the third sector to support and connect services around patients and to use that collective energy, ideas and resources to consider new and innovative approaches to sustaining and improving services. We call it co-production – or working together – and we welcome everyone to get involved.

You can view some of our videos above which highlight some of our co-produced projects and initiatives. The meetings and projects detailed on these pages are open to anyone who wants to help work with the NHS to support services. 

Please get in touch by emailing: if you would like to get involved or have any questions / comments call 01768 245 486 and ask to talk about co-production.

Covid-19 update:

While the focus of our NHS teams and the wider community is on Covid-19 we will putting this health prevention work on hold and will review where we are at the end of May.

Our community testing work is really well regarded by our local NHS leaders and those that have been involved. We don’t want to lost the energy and insight you have all brought to this work, so it is very much just on pause for now – we’ll be back and re-invigorated and ready to reconnect with our community.

Thanks for all your hard work and commitment – see you later in the year.


North Cumbria Health and Care System is being supported by NHS England to take part in the Building Health Partnerships (BHP) programme, working with facilitators from the Institute of Voluntary Action Research (IVAR). We are one of 5 Integrated care Systems to have successfully bid to be part of the programme.

Farmers talking at the auction mart during a community engagement eventIn North Cumbria we are looking at the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart disease, and the detection of conditions like atrial fibrillation which could lead to stroke. We are hoping to pilot a project in the Copeland area which we could share across the north of the county. Members of the Third Sector, the West Cumbrian Voices for Healthcare, the Stroke Association, Rotary, Healthwatch and Public Health are working with NHS colleagues to shape and develop a project.

You can find out more about IVAR and the BHP process.

It focuses on facilitating a conversation between local people, the third and voluntary sector and public agencies.

The process offers support to design a collaborative approach to health challenges, with some members of the group going on to  leadership training with the Kings Fund.

Read a blog from Kevin Walsh - District Governor for Rotary Clubs throughout Cumbria and Lancashire 2013-14 on 'Community Health Melas - Some thoughts for the future.'BLOG - 'Community Health Melas'

It is involved in a number of projects including special health testing events
 (like the one highlighted in the short film above) which continue to take place and will be highlighted in the events section on this website when more dates are confirmed.

The group offers blood pressure and pulse testing to look for atrial fibrillation.

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 also 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

Building Health Partnerships 8

View Copeland Community Stroke Prevention Project leaflet

Building Health Partnerships 5

Building Health Partnerships 3

Some of the Copeland Community Stroke Prevention Project team at an event

building health partnerships event montage showing discussion and engagement

Community health event held at Carlisle Auction Mart


Consultant-led services will remain in west Cumbria following a decision by NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Governing Body on 3 July 2019. It follows a 12 month period of review of progress to sustain and develop services and the recommendations of an Independent Review Group (IRG) made up of independent clinical specialists chaired by Dr Bill Kirkup CBE.

The review was commissioned following the Healthcare For The Future public consultation in Autumn 2016, and follows the decision made in March 2017 to continue services and test them while working with the public. The report acknowledges the hard work of staff in the service and the innovative work by the community to support services through the Working Together Group.

Dr David Rogers, medical director for NHS North Cumbria CCG, said: “The CCG has been committed to providing sustainable consultant-led services and we are pleased to see the hard work of a lot of people over a number of years being recognised.

“The Trust has faced problems recruiting and it is clear that is improving, and there has been considerable commitment from the staff to make things work.

“I also want to thank the people who have given up their time and got involved in ‘working together,’ they have made a real difference. It is clear when you read the Independent Review Group’s report, that three years on, we are now in a very different place.”

Stephen Eames, chief executive of the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am pleased the Independent Review Group has recognised the hard work of our staff at the West Cumberland Hospital as well as the work we have been doing to recruit staff. Our medical vacancies are significantly reduced from 2016, although we know there are still challenges in key areas.

“We have come a long way since the consultation and trying new ways of working with our community is making a real difference. It is good to see the impact of this innovative and constructive way of working.  We now have an end to the uncertainty that has been surrounding the future of maternity services in West Cumbria that has inevitably caused anxiety for our staff and communities, and we can now get on with the job of providing good quality services to women and babies across our hospitals.”

The review by the Independent Review Group (IRG) noted the challenges faced by the service but were “impressed by the commitment shown to overcome the recruitment challenges, including some innovative approaches.”

The IRG report says: “The services are being maintained, and given the same commitment and ingenuity to overcome future challenges, they can be sustained in future. The Independent Review Group therefore recommends that a commitment should be given to sustain the current pattern of consultant-led units in both Whitehaven and Carlisle.

“In addition, we recommend the continuation of both alongside midwifery-led units to offer a choice of birth setting in line with the Better Births report.

“Finally, there will be future challenges to these services, but they also need stability. It is important that there is a commitment to maintaining vigilance and supporting innovative measures to counter these, continuing the collaborative Working Together approach between the community and the NHS.”

In November 2018 the CQC reported maternity across the Trust was rated as ‘good’ and a CQC review of patient experience saw it score highly.

The Venerable Richard Pratt, the Archdeacon of West Cumberland, the independent chair of the Working Together Group said: ““I am very grateful to all those - from the community and the NHS - who have been so committed to the Working Together process.  I think it has had a huge impact in two ways.

“First, it has supported the NHS Trusts as they have changed the way in which they work, so that they have been able to think of and implement innovative ways to tackle the difficulties of providing maternity and other services at West Cumberland Hospital.  Second it has helped to give Dr Bill Kirkup and his group confidence in what we - the community and the NHS - are doing in west Cumbria.

“As the report of the Independent Review Group makes clear, Working Together must continue so that maternity and other services are sustained into the future, and indeed so that both the NHS and the community change for the better so that we have a Health Service (not an illness service) and healthy communities.

“In Working Together we are tackling not just maternity but also telehealth, children’s health, recruitment and retention, experience of care at a distance, and so on – and there is a real excitement about this and lots to do!

“Our next Working Together Steering Group Meeting is at 6pm on Wed 17 July at the Oval Centre. If you are interested in being part of health services for the future, you will be very welcome.”

Today’s decision by NHS North Cumbria CCG – on behalf of our health and care system – will mean consultant-led services will continue at West Cumberland Hospital, along with midwifery-led care, offering more choice for women.

Cllr Stewart Young, chair of the Cumbria Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “I welcome the decision to accept the recommendations in this report. It secures the future of services which are vital for west Cumbria.

“The process that has led to this point has involved a commitment to listen to local people and work with them to design services which is to be applauded.

“It is important that this dialogue continues and that all parties work together to ensure local people receive the best possible care.”

Work to support services will continue and more information about Working Together and Co-production can be found here:


Time lapse footage of the eventOn 30 October 2019 we held 'A Conversation About our NHS'.

We invited the community to talk about some of the changes happening in our NHS locally so people have the opportunity to share any ideas, feedback or concerns with our teams.

It was a drop-in event,  bringing together different NHS teams and colleagues with members of our community in co-production.

It was chaired by the Venerable Richard Pratt, the Archdeacon of West Cumberland 

(the steering group has had support from Healthwatch Cumbria and Cumbria CVS).

You can read more about what we discussed and developed here: 

 A Conversation About Our NHS - summary

Co-production is working together.

We know the NHS doesn’t have all the answers and we want to harness the energy, ideas and enthusiasm of our community to help us tackle the issues that are challenging our services.

Services are better when the voice of the patient, the community and the staff help shape the delivery of our health and care. After the Healthcare For The Future consultation, health leaders promised to work with our communities to implement changes and improve and develop our services.

It is open to everyone who cares about our services and wants to work constructively to develop them. We are learning as we go about effective ‘working together’ and will share best practice as it develops.

We developed our Working Together Groups around sustaining maternity services after our Healthcare For The Future public consultation.

The group is made up of NHS staff and leaders, community leaders, interested people and representatives from the third sector. It is chaired by the Ven Richard Pratt, the Archdeacon of West Cumberland.

The steering group meets regularly to monitor progress and ensure the work developing through co-production is valued by the NHS.

Visit the Working Together Steering Group Archive Here

This includes meeting notes and documents from previous meetings and a record of work that has been achieved by the group.

Feedback from the Working Together Group for the Independent Review Group

The following link is a presentation given by those involved in co-production to the clinical experts reviewing progress on the long term sustainability of maternity.

You can view it here.