Making a Difference 2017

 CN Group Titles - Save our Services

In 2016, CN Media launched the campaign, Save our Services, in response to plans to cut health services across north and west Cumbria - including sending women in labour 40 miles away to give birth and closing community hospital beds. Rather than work as individual titles, the publisher decided to have a cross-title campaign for additional impact. The campaign included numerous exclusives, strong human interest stories, and leaked key letters and documents, as well as top level interviews with Government Ministers, and a petition attracting 10,000 signatures. These were submitted as part of the consultation process, along with a strong editorial letter summing up the combined view of the paper's readers and setting out detailed concerns. 

News and Star FRONTChris Story, associate editor of the News & Star, said: "We're incredibly proud of the Save Our Services campaign, which is a strong example of how newspapers such as ours can stand up for and voice the concerns of our communities.

"Our readers want improvements to NHS services - and understand the need for change - but came to us with genuine fears about the proposals."

As a result of the campaign, a 12-month reprieve for maternity services in Whitehaven was later implemented in an attempt to tackle recruitment issues and a pledge to shift more resources into community care despite bed closures.

The campaign today

After several years of campaigning, the NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body decided to retain the consultant-led maternity services in Whitehaven, following a 12 month review.

Over 100 people were present at Cleator Moor Civic Hall to hear the decision. Workington MP Sue Hayman said: "I want to pay tribute to the many local health campaigners for their years of dedication. Our community would never have let services be removed without a fight, and I’m proud that their long-running campaign has succeeded. Every expectant mother in west Cumbria will benefit as a result."

Related links

Campaigners' tears of joy as maternity services saved (4 July 2019)
Save our Services: Cumbrian mum's heartfelt maternity plea (3 July 2019)
Save our Services - support The Whitehaven News campaign (November 2016)
News Star health campaign wins national award (May 2017)