Reducing bed numbers of health services in Maryport will tear the heart out of the community, the Success Regime was told at a meeting last night. 

Dr Brian Money, a local GP, said Maryport has been part of a national pilot based on the integration of services.

His plea to leave Maryport alone was echoed by nearly 300 people who crammed into Maryport Rugby Club on Thursday.

There was standing room only. 

Around 30 or more of those barred from entry because there was nowhere  to sit or stand pressed their faces against the outside windows to listen to what was happening.

The panel delivering the Success Regime’s initial proposals were left in no doubt that Maryport is once again prepared to fight to keep its hospital services.

“Close our hospital at your peril,” one man told the panel.

Others told poignant stories of the care that was given at Maryport.

One woman said he sister was born at Maryport hospital and had lived in the town all her life.

“She is now dying of lung cancer. She wants to die at Maryport hospital.”

Local businessman Peter Nixon, spoke of the death of his brother Philip, a popular Maryport man.

He said when Philip was diagnosed with a brain tumour he was in hospital in Newcastle. He spoke of the frequent and often lonely journeys to visit him.

“When he came to Maryport we were told he might have to go elsewhere but staff here said they were keeping him. I cannot describe the loving care he got,” he said.

Dr Shaun Hudson said Maryport hospital handles around 500 patients a year and asked where they were going to go.

Dr John Howarth, one of the GPs who led the campaign to save community hospitals when they were threatened seven years ago, is now a member of the Success Regime.

He told the Maryport meeting that he would be taking back a report of the passion in Maryport for its cottage hospital and the efficiencies that could be made within an integrated service.

There was some concern expressed about the removal of maternity consultants from the West Cumbria and the practice of moving patients from Whitehaven to Carlisle.