Works are progressing well on major construction projects across north Cumbria’s hospitals.

Speaking at last week’s joint annual members’ meeting and annual general meeting for the North Cumbria Integrated Care Trust and North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, NCIC trust executive director of finance, digital and estates Michael Smillie provided an update on a major extension set to be constructed at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

“We’re expecting to take forward building works over the next few months, starting in earnest on the bigger building works in May next year,” he said.

He added that one of the benefits of the new development was that “an increased degree of non-complex surgery” will be able to take place on the Whitehaven site.

The trust’s interim executive director of operations, Ramona Duguid, added that “significant progress” is being made on readying the Cumberland Infirmary’s new cancer centre for being “fully operational”.

Mr Smillie added that with major refurbishments and extensions having also been completed at the Keswick and Brampton community hospitals, the past 24 months have been “really exciting” in terms of improving the trust’s facilities.

“We continue to develop clinic and site bases at all our hospitals,” he said.

“Both Keswick and Brampton have increased their bed numbers and improved their facilities.

“They’ve got really excellently-designed facilities, and the staff who work there day-to-day say it really improves the quality of care that they can deliver.

“It’s a delight to see these well-loved places have the investment that we planned for and promised.”

He added that he was particularly grateful to the Leagues of Friends of both hospitals, who had been instrumental in achieving such significant refurbishments for both sites.

“I’m actually humbled by their tenacity, their big-hearted support for our community hospitals,” he said.

“It’s a real testament to the strong communities we have, and the communities’ appreciation for these local services.

“We really appreciate their continued support, and we’ll continue working with them really closely.”