Staff at Maryport's hospital believe they can still work "wonders" for the town despite the imminent closure of its overnight hospital beds.

The decision to remove in-patient beds from Maryport was made in March last year by the then Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group following a proposal by the so-called Success Regime.

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust last month determined the beds would be closed “in a phased way” starting this month.

But after an uncertain period which had staff fearing the hospital would close altogether, they are now excited to face the challenge of finding a new way to work and help the town's people.

Ward clerk Kerry Patterson has treated people in the hospital for six years but has been around the building all her life as her mum Sherry has worked at the hospital for more than 40 years.

She said there was a feeling of great sadness about the closure of the beds but felt there was an opportunity to offer more local care for a wider variety of patients.

Kerry said: "It's exciting when you think about what we can be.

"It's been difficult with the changes and we knew what we were going to lose but it was either that or we were going to lose everything.

"We're happy we're staying open and able to care for even more people.

"It'll stay like a family because the lasses we've got are all good people who are local and everybody cares about the patients and the town.

"I think we're going to do wonders for the people of Maryport."

Care in the community will be expanded to allow people to be treated in their homes, while two beds have been allocated to the NHS at Maryport’s Parkside care home.

Training has also begun for community and hospital nurses as they learn to fit into each other’s roles.

Matron Jen Lambert added: "Personally I'm very excited for the future because it's all about patient care and all the changes are going to improve the amount of patients we can care for.

"18 months ago we had a real deficit of staff numbers but we've been able to recruit and people want to be part of something which is really modern."

And integrated community care development manager Vanessa Connor believes Maryport can be a model for other hospital's to look at and follow.

"I don't think it will ever come to an end and we'll say 'that's it, that's the way we're going to do it from now on' because it will evolve around what the needs are in the community," she said.