Dental and GP training schools in the works for West Cumbria

THE NEXT generation of GPs and dentists could receive training in Copeland, a meeting of the full council has heard.

Copeland Borough Council met in Whitehaven on Tuesday and – despite the issue not being on the agenda – concerns were raised about a lack of GP and dental appointments.

Concerns were raised about the lack of appointments available during a discussion about funding for the Industrial Solutions Hub project.

Councillor John Kane said: “I welcome the money, it’s much needed and has been cut back over many years.

“The problem around this area, in the west of the county, is the lack of medical services. Has anything been done to address this?”

READ MORE: 14% fewer GP appointments held in North Cumbria in December

Mayor of Copeland Mike Starkie said: “There’s work going on, quite significant work with West Cumbria Medical Education Campus and I actually met with them on Monday morning.”

West Cumberland Medical Education Centre is a partnership between the University of Central Lancashire and North Cumbria Integrated Care.

In 2016, as a result of the partnership, trainee physician associates from UCLan started placements at West Cumberland Hospital.

Mr Starkie said this week: “One of the things they’re looking at is accommodation provision because they can significantly increase the number of trainee doctors that they bring here almost immediately by 60 or 70.

“They’re also looking at setting up on West Lakes Science Park, a facility for dental training as well.

“There’s a lot going on in the background, they’re sending their resources up to West Lakes and they’re looking at bringing significantly more people here into this location which will continue to improve the support to West Cumberland Hospital.”

READ MORE: Cumbrian officials share thoughts on lack of dental provision

Allerdale Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee is examining the lack of appointments in the borough as part of the year’s work programme.

Speaking at Copeland Council, Cllr Steven Morgan said: “As some of you are aware, I’m on the board of directors for the NHS trust in Newcastle and I met last week with the chairman and vice chairman of North Cumbria Integrated Care.

“One of the things we’re working on with them is to try and develop a branch of the University of Northumberland medical school that would be based here.

“One of the other things we’re discussing is sharing some of the medical personal that exists in Newcastle with Carlisle.”


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