Breast care clinicians at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) are continuing to develop plans to restart the one stop breast clinic at West Cumberland Hospital.
Currently the Trust is not able confirm a start date for when the clinic will recommence but is making positive progress through international recruitment that will support the clinic in the long term.
Dr Rod Harpin, Medical Director at NCIC confirmed this in a meeting to update the community at a special meeting of the West Cumbria Community Forum on 27th October. He said:
“Whilst we are not able to pinpoint a confirmed date for when the clinic will restart as we had hoped, we have been working hard behind the scenes in developing plans that will help us to do this.
“We have recently had some positive developments and success in recruiting to posts that will support us with a sustainable long term plan for the clinic. One of our recruits will be joining us in November and another is expected early next year. We are also supporting and developing a current staff member with further training to assist us.
“In the short term, we continue to search for locum or permanent consultants. We are also continually looking at ways to deliver more services locally and we are holding an innovative pilot clinic at West Cumberland Hospital this weekend. Although this is not the full one stop service, it will prevent a number of women from needing to travel to Carlisle.”
“We appreciate that not having a restart date is disappointing for our local communities and women in west Cumbria but we want to assure you we are working on this as a priority to make sure we can safely restart the clinic as soon as we are able to.”
The one stop breast clinic, along with many of the Trust’s other outpatient services had to change the way it delivered appointments in line with national guidance due to the coronavirus pandemic early this year.
Alongside this and Subsequent reduction in an already small radiologist workforce, plans on how to safely deliver and restart the clinic needed to be developed meaning the clinic was put on hold. We want to assure the women of North Cumbria that they will continue to receive the breast clinics they need for their care
The Trust will provide regular updates on progress.