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Friday, 25 July 2014

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First look inside Cumbrian town’s new £11m hospital

This is the first look inside Cockermouth’s new £11 million hospital.

The two-level hospital is due to open its doors to the public for the first time next week.

It replaces the existing cottage hospital which is more than 100 years old.

Staff are due to move in on Monday and inpatients transferred on Wednesday.

The ground level entrance, on Isel Road, has four self check-in areas, a receptionist area and two areas for confidential conversations. Around the reception site are colour-coded waiting areas for Castlegate and Derwent House surgeries, which between them serve 16,000 people.

The surgeries are designed around a nursing hub in the centre of the building.

An 11-bed inpatient ward, with en-suite facilities, and NHS dentist services are on the lower level. There is also a minor injuries unit, X-ray facilities and two education rooms.

Community services, including district nurses, midwives and health visitors, will be based at the hospital and it will host health clinics such as physiotherapy and podiatry.

Tracey Porter, integrated matron, said: “We are all excited about moving in here but there is a little bit of sadness that we are leaving the old cottage hospital.

“It was an old building but now we have a lovely environment for the patients.”

The hospital also houses Castlegate Pharmacy, which will be open from 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 8pm on Sunday.

Fiona Tibbitts, pharmacy practice manager, said: “It is great having everything on one site and there is now a great opportunity to develop health care services for the people of Cockermouth and area.”

The hospital suffered a delay in opening after it was the subject of a legal battle when town chemist JWW Allison claimed that a contract to run the new pharmacy was awarded without a proper tender process. Shareholders in Trinity Pharma, which trades as Castlegate Pharmacy, are GPs from the town surgeries.

JWW Allison called for a judicial review, and an injunction was put in place to prevent a pharmacy from opening at the hospital, but the legal bid was rejected by the High Court.

The hospital will be officially opened in the summer.

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