A West Cumbrian councillor is calling for the Success Regime consultation to be suspended.

Rebecca Hanson says evidence indicates that women and babies will die as a result of consultant-led obstetric care being removed from the West Cumberland Hospital, because of the transfer times.

“The Success Regime consultation has not risk-assessed this issue,” said Coun Hanson.

“This consultation must be suspended until appropriate risk assessments have been done and it can be demonstrated that there is a safety case and a financial case for downgrading services.”

Coun Hanson attended one of the public meetings.

“I was expecting to get clear answers to my questions which I could use to reassure the women I represent.

"Instead I found that the basic research had not been done and the panellists had no responses to simple questions,” she said.

“The fears of local people are escalating because these fears are not being challenged by any credible data.

"As an elected councillor I engaged with the consultation process expecting to be able to help calm fears by helping to communicate the statistical information which would reassure people. I was horrified to find that no such information exists.”

Coun Hanson, a member of Cockermouth Town Council, has compiled a report into transfer times and how they affect safety.

“The Success Regime consultation is designed to remove consultant-led obstetric care in Whitehaven because none of the paediatric options being consulted will allow it to continue.

“Whitehaven therefore looks set to become a midwife led birth facility.

“Over 1,200 women per year currently give birth in Whitehaven.

"Twenty-five per cent of women who labour in midwife-led birth facilities need to transfer to consultant-led care.

"Whitehaven is 39 miles from Carlisle along poor roads and average transfer times are over 1 hour 40 minutes.

“There are substantial medical reasons to believe these transfers will result in poor birth outcomes.”