Plans for a £3.4 million upgrade to The Cumberland Infirmary's Heart Centre have just been given the go-ahead. 

The undertaking will allow for the creation of two brand new state of the art catheter labs, alongside a renovation of the current ward area. 

Dr Louise Buchanan, associate medical director for Medicine said: "All patients across north Cumbria who need emergency treatment for a severe heart attack or who need specialist cardiac treatment are supported by The Heart Centre

"The treatments include coronary angiography, in which x-ray is used to obtain images of the heart arteries and percutaneous coronary intervention – a procedure that can be used to unblock a blood vessel and implant a stent to keep the artery open," she said. 

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Dr Buchanan pointed out that there are more than 2000 procedures, both planned and emergency, carried out at the current Heart Centre per year. 

"There is currently only one catheter laboratory in The Heart Centre that can be used to carry out all these services.

News and Star: 3D: Artist impression of the new building. 3D: Artist impression of the new building.

"The extra lab will mean that there will be less impact on planned procedures should a patient need emergency care. This will improve patient experience and increase the numbers of patients who can be treated in a more timely way," she said. 

Before the creation of the heart service in 2011, patients would be reliant on services at Newcastle or Middlesbrough for treatment, allowing for the re-investment to ensure the current Heart Centre remains fit for purpose for North Cumbrians. 

Work has already started for the project, of which the ward area is currently being renovated alongside work to upgrade the current power supply to the Heart Centre. 

Locals are being advised that there may be some disruption at the roundabout at the front of the hospital, with traffic management expected to be under control in the area for around five weeks.

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