A COVID-19 outbreak has been confirmed at Carlisle's specialist hospital for mental health services.

A "small outbreak" of Covid-19 has been declared at The Hadrian Unit at the Carleton Clinic in Carlisle.

The trust that operates the Carleton Clinic, the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, is "working closely" with regional authorities to respond to the situation.

Gary O’Hare, the trust's executive director of nursing and chief operating officer, said: “We can confirm that a small outbreak of Covid-19 has been declared at Hadrian Unit.

“We have declared the outbreak in line with national guidance and are working closely with the regional Health Protection Unit following their protocols for the investigation and management of outbreaks.

“We adhere to strict procedures on the use of PPE at all of our hospital sites. ”

It is understood by the News & Star that a number of staff members at the Carleton Clinic had been absent last week, with sources reporting that as many as 19 members of staff were absent as of last Friday.

However, the CNTW NHS Trust did not confirm the number of staff members that had been absent at the end of last week, and did not confirm whether the number of staff absences had changed over the weekend into this week.

The Carleton Clinic, in the Garlands area on the south eastern edge of Carlisle, provides a range of specialist mental health services, including adult long stay rehabilitation, psychiatric intensive care, mental health crisis services and community mental health services for individuals with a learning disability, or autism. It is made up of six inpatient wards and community clinics.

The CNTW Trust running the clinic, rated as "outstanding" by the Care Quality Commission, was formed in 2019 when the mental health and learning disability services in north Cumbria were transferred to the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.