Thousands oppose Maryport Cottage Hospital proposals

Maryport Cottage Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption Supporters of the cottage hospital say it allows people to be cared for close to home

About 3,000 people have signed a petition opposing proposals to reduce services at a Cumbrian hospital.

Maryport's 13-bed Victoria Cottage Hospital is one of several in the county under review by a government body called the Success Regime.

Supporters argue it is a "vital" asset and will stage a public meeting at Flimby Chapel later.

The Success Regime said it was assessing all options and reviewing feedback.

A consultation period will start later in the summer.

'Special place'

Proposals put forward include removing beds and turning the facility into a community care hub which would provide outpatient care.

That would see people taken six miles (9.6km) to Workington or Cockermouth for inpatient treatment.

Bill Barnes, chairman of the Ewanrigg & Netherton Tenants & Residents' Association, which is organising the campaign, said: "This hospital has a special place in the hearts of Maryport people.

"There won't be many who haven't been touched by it in one way or another."

The Success Regime said there were "deep rooted issues" with health services in Cumbria including "an ongoing challenge of providing decent services to rural, remote and isolated communities".

Cottage - or community - hospitals face "great challenges in recruitment, meeting safe staffing levels and providing medical cover", it added.

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