A WOMAN has shared her ‘appalling’ experience of a recent visit to the Cumberland Infirmary, whilst visiting a family member.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said her visits within the health practice’s A&E, AMU and Beech Ward reminded her of a visit to a ‘third world hospital’, as patients lay 'strewn in corridors on beds', trolleys, wheelchairs, chairs, with some even on a drip.

"In my family member's cubicle, it was cramped, paint was peeling off the walls, the ceiling tiles were grubby as well as holes in the wall where equipment had previously inserted, it’s totally in need of refurbishment.  

"It’s not just about people’s comfort, it’s about the staff who have to work in these conditions.

"The staff were amazing, despite working in such incredibly busy and cramped conditions, plaudits go to them.

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"I just thought the whole place needs rubbed out and started again,” she said.

The woman has said she does not believe the building is ‘fit for purpose’.

"Closing the minor injuries units in smaller hospitals has made things worse. Something needs to be done urgently before our wonderful NHS staff in Carlisle collapse under the pressure," she said.

Dr Adrian Clements, medical director at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust said: "We welcome feedback from patients which is a really important part of improving the services we offer.

"We have been very open about the pressures we are seeing including record numbers of patients attending A&E and high numbers of patients we are caring for who are medically fit for discharge but waiting for care packages.

"This means we are not able to admit people as quickly as we would like but we are doing everything we can to make sure that patients receive a high quality of care while they wait.  

"We keep our estates under regular review and have recently created a new dedicated A&E paediatric area, a new diagnostic suite with state of the art scanning equipment and we are currently expanding and improve our heart centre.

"We are aware that other aspects of the estate need to be addressed as part of our continued efforts to meet the demands placed on our services.

"We are working with our clinicians to agree and prioritise these developments and seeking support from our partners.

"Our urgent treatment centres (minor injuries units) are very much open at Penrith and Keswick and are there as an alternative for non-urgent medical support.

"We welcome feedback and we urge people to share their experience with our patient experience team so that we can share compliments and use the information to make improvements," he said. 

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