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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Trust confirms immediate medical appointments to secure services at The West Cumberland Hospital

Trust confirms immediate medical appointments to secure services at The West Cumberland Hospital

Posted on Thursday 3rd April 2014

Healthcare leaders at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust have today confirmed the appointment of three locum doctors to provide immediate support to nursing and medical teams at West Cumberland Hospital and maintain services for patients in West Cumbria.

The announcement comes following the removal of three junior doctors last week due to lack of available clinical supervision. The Trust has today reassured all staff of the immediate actions it has taken to ensure safe care with locum support in place as an interim measure whilst extensive recruitment takes place.

One of the three doctors has already started work this week at West Cumberland Hospital with the remaining two due to begin work on Monday 7 April. 

North Cumbria has also confirmed today the appointment of a permanent speciality doctor at West Cumberland Hospital who joins the Trust in July, as well as interest from three international candidates in permanent middle grade positions. This is in addition to the four locum doctors already in post at the hospital.

Together, this will provide West Cumberland Hospital with eight middle grade doctors working at registrar level which is better than the five posts which the hospital has had in place for the past few years. The three locum posts announced today are in addition to this.

Consultant recruitment at West Cumberland Hospital continues with vigour and the Trust has recently been very pleased to welcome the following new permanent appointments:

  • Dr Joanna Cox, consultant in elderly care, who relocated from Newcastle and began work in Whitehaven on 3 March
  • Dr Jason Gane, consultant paediatrician, who relocated from London and began work in Whitehaven on 3 March
  • Dr Martin Cowley, consultant cardiologist who joins West Cumberland Hospital at the start of May

Last year, the Trust also invested £1million to develop a further 12 nurse practitioner roles at West Cumberland Hospital and with training now almost complete, these staff will begin in post from September 2014. 

Nurse practitioners are highly skilled senior nurses, who have undergone additional training and can assess, diagnose and treat patients, order tests and prescribe medication. They will work in partnership with doctors at West Cumberland Hospital to provide a safe seven day service with consultants and senior medical staff providing educational and clinical supervision.

Furthermore, Health Education North East (HENE) has also committed to support six additional training posts in West Cumbria as part of its GP training scheme and active recruitment is taking place. These GP trainees will also provide further support to junior doctors in training at West Cumberland Hospital. 

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, medical director at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Whilst these locum appointments are an interim measure and clearly not a long term solution, we are nevertheless very pleased to have secured the provision of services at West Cumberland Hospital so quickly. 

“Recruitment of permanent consultants and doctors remains a challenging issue for us but one that we are determined to do all that we can to conquer. In the past few months alone we have attracted some fantastic clinicians to join our team at West Cumberland Hospital and from next week we will also begin a widespread recruitment campaign to make sure we are taking every possible step to recruit the best possible candidates into the vacant positions across our hospitals.

“From September, our nurse practitioners will also have a vital role to play working alongside doctors at West Cumberland Hospital and bring with them vast experience which will ensure patients have access to the highest possible quality of care.

“We are entering an exciting phase for North Cumbria as we continue to deliver our safety and quality improvements, continue to work closely with our buddy trust Northumbria Healthcare and as we look forward to the opening of our new state-of-the-art West Cumberland Hospital next year. These are all factors that we are confident will attract more high calibre people to join us.”