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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Cumbrian health centre and hospital projects making good progress

The washout summer has failed to hamper progress on two major health developments.

Cleator Moor health centre photo
Work continues at the Cleator Moor Health Centre

Builders of the new Cockermouth Community Hospital and Cleator Moor Health Centre are approaching the ‘topping out’ phase – which will see the roofs completed.

This major milestone will ensure the developments are watertight and wind proof before winter sets in.

NHS bosses say this means there be no delays to the long-awaited health centres if any adverse weather sets in.

Both facilities are scheduled to open next year.

The £4m Cleator Moor Health Centre, which will house local GP practices and other health services at a new base on Birks Road, is expected to open in the spring.

The £11m Cockermouth hospital, which will combine hospital, GP and other health services on the same site, next to the existing Isel Road hospital, is a bigger development.

It will therefore be largely complete by next summer, with all services fully operational by the autumn.

Martin Westgate, from contractor Robertson Construction, said: “Fitting the roof always marks a major milestone in any project.

“Having endured the unseasonably wet weather of the summer and autumn, we are delighted to have reached this turning point. As our attention now turns to the interior of both medical centres we will continue to work closely with all the partners and staff at NHS Cumbria to ensure the high standard of healthcare at the new builds will offer the town is delivered.”

Building work on both projects started in May. Gas, electricity and water services are in the process of being connected, which will lead to some disruption to surrounding roads and footpaths over the next few weeks.

A temporary car park has opened at the Cockermouth site for visitors to the hospital to reduce the number of vehicles on the street.

Cockermouth GP Simon Desert, who has been leading the hospital project, said: “At the moment the building work is causing traffic issues, and we do appreciate the patience which neighbours and patients have given while work continues. However, when we do open for business next year there will be parking for 130 vehicles at the health centre – more than ever before. He added that the building will create a flexible space for modern day healthcare.

“The design of the building is integral to the new style of delivering care. Rather that GPs and consultants working individually in rooms along long corridors, we have been able to create more open spaces where we can work collaboratively.

“The old style reception with the desk as a barrier will be replaced with an open-plan working area providing patients with access to their own records, IT points where they can self check-in and make their own future appointments. The area will be designed to provide private reception points where patients can discuss complex, confidential issues,” he said.

Dr David Rogers, Copeland’s lead GP added: “Cleator Moor is an area in need of better health facilities. The new centre will be an important resource.

“This, combined with the investment at Cockermouth, marks a big step-forward for health care in west Cumbria and will help enable us to plan and provide the best services for our patients.”

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