Monday, 30 November 2015

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Summer start for rebuild of West Cumberland Hospital

Hospital bosses say they are confident work on the new West Cumberland will finally start in the summer.

Hospital photo
West Cumberland Hospital

It follows news that the £90 million plans had been backed by regional health bosses – meaning they now only need final approval from the Department of Health and Treasury.

The Strategic Health Authority, NHS North of England, discussed the long-awaited rebuild at its meeting in Leeds on Thursday. It also gave final approval to plans for a £11m community hospital in Cockermouth and £4m health centre in Cleator Moor, with work on these also set to start in summer.

The news has been welcomed by Cumbria LINk (Local Involvement Network), which represents the views of local patients. Members met with Prime Minister David Cameron last summer and say they were given assurances the Government would back the redevelopment.

Chairman Alan Alexander is therefore confident that it will get final approval.

“At long last the people of west Cumbria can look forward with some optimism to a redeveloped hospital that is fit for the 21st century,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the West Cumberland Hospital, said: “This redevelopment will signal the single biggest investment into health care in west Cumbria for over half a century.

Workington MP Tony Cunningham said he also had personal assurances from the Prime Minister, following the west Cumbrian shootings, that the money would be made available. Having fought for many years to bring a new hospital to Cockermouth, he added: “I’m absolutely delighted, as will be the people of Cockermouth.

“It’s been a long hard road and we’ve fought a lot of battles but working together as a community, this shows what you can achieve. I look forward to the day we start to see some building work.”

Copeland MP Jamie Reed, who yesterday met bosses at Northumbria Healthcare – the trust set to take over north Cumbria’s hospitals – said he hoped the West Cumberland project would now accelerate.

“I’m very pleased that the new build is inching closer.

“Although reduced significantly by this Government, this money has been burning a hole in our pocket for over four years,” he said.

“We need to speed up and we need to give the public, patients and medical personnel the certainty they deserve. The pressure will continue until the new hospital is built. Not a single brick has yet been laid, so there is no cause for celebration and no room for complacency.”


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