A COMMITTEE of councillors tasked with ensuring the area receives the best possible health services has heard a call to quiz local NHS leaders on staffing issues.

The Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee met at in Carlisle on Monday July 25 to discuss issues affecting NHS services in the county.

And one councillor asked that the committee gets the opportunity to question local health leaders on staffing issues which is reportedly an issue across the NHS footprint in Cumbria.

READ MORE: Cumbrian mental health service sees surge in demand amid staffing struggles

Councillor Frank Cassidy, Cumbria County Council member for Walney South pointed out NHS111 staffing issues mentioned in The Mail’s report on Furness General Hospital and it’s “requires improvement” rating from the Care Quality Commission.

Councillor Cassidy said: “I know that it’s a problem across the region, but could I propose an item for future consideration, to ask the system leaders what levers can be pulled to improve the retention and recruitment of NHS staff.”

The supporting officer said: “I would say, it’s something that’s such a common thread in the reports that the committee receives around the challenges of various trusts.

“It’s something that we’ve heard before so we can ask them to come and give that, now and then comparison.”

READ MORE: Damning inspection finds care at Furness General Hospital ‘requires improvement’

Councillors were in agreement that the issue should be added to Cumbria Health Scrutiny’s work programme.

Cllr Trevor Allison said: “It does feature pretty strongly in the papers this morning and I hope they would have some comment on that.”

One of the reports brought by NHS leaders to the committee on Monday focussed on the issues facing NHS mental health services in Cumbria.

Councillors heard that staffing recruitment and retention is an ongoing issue with NHS leaders calling on agency cover, which in turn increases costs.

It comes at a period of high demand for mental health services, in particular crisis services following the reopening of society after lockdown.

The next meeting of Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee is set to take place at County Offices in Kendal on Monday October 3 at 10.30am

READ MORE: BT workers hold two day strike in Carlisle over pay