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Cumbria's Health Bosses Issue Full Service Update

A full update has been given by health bosses in Cumbria, on the current situation after the weekend's floods.

1: University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust:

- Services at Westmorland General Hospital have returned to normal.

- Royal Lancaster Infirmary is offering limited surgery – priority will be given to those most in need - and most outpatient appointments running as normal, with exception of: ear, nose and throat; audiology; breast screening and maxillofacial.  Patients should contact the trust on 01524 583506 to find out whether their operation will be going ahead.

- Outpatient clinics at the Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH) have been cancelled due to power outage concerns.

A spokesperson from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Whilst the recent storm has caused major disruption to Lancashire and Cumbria, the hospitals within UHMBT are coping as well as can be expected.

“We would like to take this opportunity remind patients to only use the hospital’s Emergency Departments in the event of an emergency so that our staff can continue to focus on those seriously ill patients that need urgent attention.

“For patients that do use the hospital services, please remember to bring any prescription medication with you. For those patients who receive home care services involving medication that must be refrigerated, and have been affected by the power cut, please call your Home Care Provider helpline number."

2: Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust:

- All routine community and mental health appointments and clinics remain cancelled today.  Situation will be assessed later this afternoon to see whether or not non-urgent appointment can go ahead tomorrow.

- Community and mental health staff in Carlisle (district nurses, health visitors, children’s community nurses, community mental health nurses, palliative care nurses) are some experiencing delays in reaching patients.  Vulnerable patients are being prioritised and staff are being assisted by the coastguard.

- Some power has now returned to the dental centre at the Cumberland Infirmary but not fully. Patients who need emergency dental treatment should call Dental Direct North Cumbria – 01228 603900 South Cumbria – 01539 716822

Dr Andy Brittlebank, Medical Director for Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “Because of the significant disruption, we are running essential and urgent services only – unfortunately all routine appointments for community services, mental health services and children’s services remain cancelled and this will be reviewed by tomorrow morning.  Staff are contacting patients to explain this.

“We apologise for any inconvenience however we have made this decision in order to support urgent cases and to help ease the pressure on other areas of the NHS and transport system.

“Staff are prioritising patients for visits according to need and have been able to reach those requiring urgent attention with assistance from mountain rescue where required.  Community mental health teams and crisis teams are continuing to keep in contact with vulnerable adults to ensure they are safe.

“We are advising staff to come into work as normal as long as they are able and it is safe for them to do so.  We are very grateful to our staff who are letting us know if they are able to offer extra help or if they have been affected, this is helping the coordinated response as all agencies continue to make sure people are safe.”

3: NHS England Cumbria and North East:

- All GP practices across Cumbria are open.

- Three pharmacies remain closed due to flood damage.

- One offering emergency prescriptions only and one running low on supplies.

- If unsure which service to use, please call NHS111

- Patients are asked to please only contact practices for essential and urgent appointments, and we thank people for their continued patience and cooperation.

Health partners are working together to minimise disruption, help ensure medical staff can get into work, and have the equipment and supplies they need to maintain high quality care.

4: North Cumbria University Hospital Trust:

- Power is back on at the Cumberland  Infirmary in Carlisle

- A&E departments remain busy at both hospitals so please only attend or dial 999 in an emergency.

- All outpatient appointments running as normal today on both sites, as is chemotherapy and endoscopy

- Non urgent surgery remains cancelled today on both sites with the exception of day case surgery which  is mostly running at West Cumberland Hospital – patients will be contacted directly regarding their operations

- Major trauma and stroke patients are being treated at the Cumberland Infirmary now that the CT scanner has been restored

A spokesperson for North Cumbria University Hospital Trust said: “All patients are being safely cared for and staff are working tirelessly to ensure patients are well looked after – sincere thanks to all of our teams who have gone out of their way to offer support at such a difficult time.

“Both hospitals remain extremely busy and we would urge people to only attend A&E or use 999 for serious and life threatening emergencies.  Please dial NHS 111 if you need urgent medical advice or contact your general practice.

“We would like to offer our sincere apologies for the disruption to some of our services and would ask people to please bear with us as we look to regain business as usual over the coming days.  We will be in touch with all patients as soon as possible to reschedule appointments.”

5: Glenridding Health Centre:

GP practice is open, although only accessible by boat.

6: Appleby Medical Practice:

Practice is open with electricity provided by generator. One GP on site, one GP conducting home visits and a GP working from Temple Sowerby.

7: Community pharmacies:

Boots, Appleby - only open for emergency prescriptions.  Electricity expected to return 9 December

Boots  Cockermouth – closed due to flooding, but alternative arrangements in place

Sainsburys, Church Street, Carlisle – closed

Tesco, Warwick Road, Carlisle – closed

Well Pharmacy, Port Road, Carlisle – pharmacy reopened today but have not had medication delivery since Saturday, so may run low

Dr Craig Melrose, medical director at NHS England Cumbria and the North East said: “We are pleased to see NHS services being restored around the county and would like to thank staff again for their continued support and commitment in ensuring patients receive treatment and care in these very difficult circumstances.

“NHS organisations are all working closely together to provide mutual support and share information so we can respond appropriately in the areas of most need.

“We’re able to continue to provide access to services for the vast majority of patients and we would like to thank the public for their continued support.”

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