All the latest from the Trust | April 2024

Intro from the Chair

Hello and welcome to our newsletter for foundation trust members and the wider community.  

Steve MorganMay has been another busy month with lots of activity at the Trust including International Day of the Midwife and International Day of the Nurse. The work they do each day is not to be under estimated and they are invaluable to our Trust so it was great to take the time to recognise them and say ‘thank you’.

Following the announcement that a general election will take place on 4 July, we are now officially into the pre-election period. During this period all NHS organisations have guidance to follow which means we will be continuing to share ‘business as usual’ communications but any other planned public announcements or activities will be postponed until after the election.

I hope as we move into June that the sun makes an appearance in Cumbria!

Steven Morgan


NCIC one of 143 hospitals to roll-out ‘Martha’s Rule’

We are proud that NCIC is one of the first trusts to implement Martha’s Rule in its first year with both the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital being part of the initial roll-out.

The purpose of Martha’s Rule is to provide a consistent and understandable way for patients and families to seek an urgent review if their or their loved one’s condition deteriorates and they are concerned this is not being responded to.

The scheme is named after thirteen-year-old Martha Mills, who died from sepsis having been treated at King’s College Hospital, London, in 2021, due to a failure to escalate her to intensive care, and after her family’s concerns about her deteriorating condition were not responded to.

New entrance now open at West Cumberland Hospital

The new main entrance to West Cumberland Hospital opened on 29 May. The doors to the new main entrance are located on the Homewood Road side of the building and will provide staff, patients and visitors with a more modern and welcoming area as well as a brand new, contemporary reception desk located next to the current coffee shop in the main atrium. In the short term, WH Smith will remain in its current location. However, it will move to its permanent new location, also in the atrium, in June.   

There has also been a significant change to the road layout at the hospital site, and we Visitors to the hospital will also notice a change in parking. This is a short-term change whilst work begins to create the addition of approximately 40 parking spaces. Parking will no longer be available outside the old main entrance, but there will be disabled parking spaces in front of the new main entrance and additional visitors parking in the tiered car park near Women’s Outpatients. We would ask that when the public are entering the hospital from the tiered car park that they use the entrance adjacent to Women’s Outpatients and make their way internally through the hospital. We are on track for opening at the end of July.

Parking changes at the Cumberland Infirmary

Due to ongoing building works, there have been some changes made to the car parks at CIC. The large car park to the left (car park B) as you drive up the site is now a visitors car park. The number of visitors car parking spaces in the main car park on the right (car park A) have been slightly decreased. Both the main car park and the new public car park are temporarily be pay and display as of Wednesday 29th May. You will need to pay for a ticket and display it in your windscreen. Should appointments overrun you are able to extend car parking tickets through an app on your phone. Pay and display is a temporary measure while we install automatic number plate recognition technology.  There will be clear signage helping guide you to the correct car park and there will be staff on the ground to assist. Please see the map for more details: CIC parking map

New service for stroke patients launches in north Cumbria

A new service to support recovering stroke patients and their families has launched. The North Cumbria Community Stroke Discharge and Support Team will support patients with complex care needs who are being discharged from hospital following a stroke, focusing on patients who require a full package of care at home or who are moving into nursing residential care.

The service is a 12-month pilot project funded by Stroke Quality Improvement for Rehabilitation (SQuIRe).The team are working with the stroke teams at the both the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital to identify suitable patients and the team will then work to reduce the patient’s length of stay in hospital and reduce the likelihood of them requiring re-admission to hospital. The small team is made up of two occupational therapists, two nurses, a principal psychological practitioner, a team secretary and a team lead/case manager.

Read more: New stroke service

Funding boost for Penrith Hospital’s League of Friends

Penrith Community Hospital’s League of Friends - who help and support patients and staff have benefited from a funding boost of £1,000.

The funding was granted after The Benefact Group, a financial services company, asked for charity nominations as part of their ‘Movement for Good’ programme.

Linda Bell, Chair of the League of Friends, said: “We are very grateful to Benefact for their kind donation. Patients and staff at the hospital will continue to benefit from this extra boost.

“We have furnished a relative’s room on the ward for patient’s family members who have travelled long distances or need to stay overnight with them.

“More recently, we have been involved in purchasing specialist patients chairs and therapy equipment for the newly refurbished ward at the hospital. The League of Friends also purchase Christmas gifts for patients.

“We will now work with the staff to identify the best use of this funding boost.”

Read more: Funding boost for Penrith Hospital’s League of Friends

Thanks to our nurses and midwives

Two West Cumbrian nurses shared their inspirational nursing stories to coincide with International Day of the Nurse.

Kelly Manford proves that if nursing has always been your ambition, it’s never too late to change your career path. Kelly had been a beauty therapist for 15 years when she enrolled on the Step into Work scheme with the Trust – a six week programme that gives candidates experience they need to get a job in healthcare. She recently fulfilled her ambition and qualified as a nurse at the West Cumberland Hospital.

And Diabetes Specialist Nurse Christabel Chinonso Uluocha, who works at the West Cumberland Hospital, has recently beat off tough competition to be named a finalist in the Diabetes Nursing Times Awards next month. Christabel, who was trained in Nigeria joined the Trust in March 2023 and has retrained as a diabetes specialist nurse after both of her parents died from the disease.

International Nurses’ Day is an annual opportunity to thank, recognise and celebrate all of our nursing colleagues.

Read more: West Cumbrian nurses share inspiring stories

May also marked International Day of the Midwife and Amanda Kennett, Associate Director of Midwifery, sent a message to all of our midwives thanking them for their hard work.

Non-Executive Director changes

The Governors are engaged in a process to recruit a new Non Executive Director as Philip Kane, leaves our board to join Newcastle’s.  Celia Weldon is also due to leave as she comes to the end of her term of office, so a further recruitment process will also be underway soon.

Meeting schedule for NCIC board and committees

The meeting schedule for the NCIC board and committees is available on our website.

Awareness events

This month we shared advice on Heart Failure Awareness Week, Dying Matters Week, Mental Health Awareness Week and shared advice on the rise of whooping cough.


Would you like to come and work for us? Check out our current vacancies. This month they include:


Be Involved: Become a member

Member and Governor update

This month the Governor Column comes from public governor Eric Martlew.

Eric Martlew.jpgI am delighted to have recently been elected as a governor for the Carlisle area.

I have just realised it was 50 years ago this month when I was first appointed to the board of the then Cumbria Health Authority. At that time I was a very young councillor elected to the newly formed Cumbria County Council. The council had one place on the Board and this was to ensure a close working relationship between the Health Authority and the Council. This is something that should be happening today, with the need for close collaboration between health and adult social care.

I served 14 years on the boards of Health Authorities in Cumbria and had the privilege to chair the Authority for two years. Some of the problems facing the Trust today are just the same as 50 years.

A population of only 350,000 means we should only have one DGH but our geography makes it essential that we have two; but, unfortunately, we don't receive funding for two hospitals.

The road between Carlisle and Whitehaven has had no major significant improvements in that time, making patient transfers a problem.

Recruitment and retention of staff is still difficult. However, the challenges of today are much greater with an ageing population putting a greater strain on the infrastructure and staff.

Having recently experienced being a patient l found the care and expertise of the staff excellent but having spent hours in a cubical at the Carlisle A&E before being transferred to WCH for a bed served to reinforce this opinion.

The CIC Accident & Emergency Department needs a major expansion, and the need for extra bed capacity is crucial. However, for this to be achieved will not only take money but also innovative solutions. An exponential change has been the use of technology. In the 70s the landlady of the Gloucester Arms in Penrith led a successful million pound fundraising campaign to buy the first CT scanner for the CIC.

Finally, l feel that the Trust under utilises the governors’ expertise and local knowledge.

We should be acknowledged as the eyes and ears of our communities and that we are all willing to help improve the local NHS. l look forward to this concept being actively developed.

Eric Martlew
Public Governor, Carlisle

Governor elections coming soon

We are currently preparing the timeline for our annual governor elections that will take place in the Autumn. We expect nominations to open on the 5th July, so if you are interested in becoming a governor, keep an eye out for details on how to submit your nomination.

Become a member

Anyone living in Cumbria over the age of 14 can become a member, you can choose how much or how little you want to be involved – join today.

Concerns or comments

If you have any concerns or comments please contact your governors on the email below. We are here to raise any concerns on your behalf.  More information on the members of the Governors’ Council and their role can be found on our website. If you have any comments or suggestions please contact us via the email below: 

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