The second phase of the redevelopment of the West Cumberland Hospital has been approved.

The £40m investment to deliver the next phase of redevelopment was given the go-ahead by the NHS Improvement.

The development will bring a huge upgrade in facilities for both patients and staff.

It is proposed that it will create a better environment, retaining bed capacity and services for the site and improving the capacity to undertake additional planned operations in the future.

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust has developed an ambitious plan to replace about 40 per cent of the original structure at the hospital and build on the £90m first phase of the project which was completed in 2015.

Demolition of the exiting hospital buildings has already been undertaken to make way for 60 inpatient beds, encompassing elderly care, step down facilities, and end of life care.

The plans also includes a short stay paediatric assessment unit, assessment area and seven inpatient beds. The formal approval of the outline business case is a key milestone in the project, and the next phase will be to further engage with staff and the community to develop final detailed deigns for the Final Business Case (FBC) by the end of June 2021.

The Trust will hold some virtual events for staff and the wider community to find out more and gather views and feedback on the plans.

Lyn Simpson, chief executive said: “We’re thrilled that the outline business case has been approved by NHS Improvement and is a proactive step towards the next stage of development. This sends a very positive signal about the future of healthcare provision in West Cumbria and following an incredibly difficult year for our staff and the community, this news couldn’t come at a better time.

"The approval of the £40 million scheme will allow us to move forward with our ambitious plans for phase two of the build.”

People can find out more about the plans by visiting the NCIC website and can ask questions by attending the virtual meetings dates will be confirmed via the website in the coming days. Work is now be underway to develop the Full Business Case which will be submitted to NHS Improvement in June.