PLANS for a new £15 million endoscopy unit at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle have been submitted to Cumberland Council.

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust secured the funding for the building in Newtown Road in October from NHS England.

The landscaped site, which is in part of the hospital complex and is currently used for car parking, covers an area of 0.28 hectares. According to the application, 21 parking spaces would be lost because of the development.

The new building will be linked to the main hospital and located next to the Cancer Centre.

News and Star: The site of the new unit at Cumberland InfirmaryThe site of the new unit at Cumberland Infirmary (Image: NHS)

The Cumberland Infirmary currently has only one endoscopy room which is of a suitable size, and two smaller rooms that do not meet national accreditation standards.

The new build will include five clinical rooms as well as an outpatients area. The expansion of the service also means patients currently travelling to Newcastle for a procedure can be seen more locally in Carlisle.

The proposed building would have an internal floorspace of 1,777 square metres.

News and Star: An artist's impression of the new siteAn artist's impression of the new site (Image: NHS)

According to a planning statement, 'understanding the context' which surrounds the site has informed the design decisions and there were 'a number of constraints which affected it'.

These included:

  • Challenging topography with entry being at the lower ground-floor level and connectivity to the main hospital through the existing corridor link;
  • An existing quiet garden and car parking to be demolished, removing green space from the external hospital environment;
  • Proximity of the Cancer Centre and the main hospital to the north and how this building connects and relates with the new endoscopy build.

The report states: "The site analysis indicated that the levels on the site could be used to provide a link for inpatients from the existing lower ground corridor with this same level becoming the ground floor of the new building and this forming the entrance level for outpatients from the opposite end of the building, from there parking to the south."

News and Star: An artist's impression of the new siteAn artist's impression of the new site (Image: NHS)

According to the trust, the main benefits of the unit are:

  • Patients will be able to access endoscopy faster - 99 per cent of patients will receive their diagnostic procedure within six weeks of referral in line with national standards;
  • The additional rooms will have capacity to provide a further 30 lists per week avoiding unnecessary travel outside of the region;

Accreditation with the national Joint Advisory Group (JAG) on GI Endoscopy will be achievable, showing best practice and the highest of standards.