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Health Secretary announces redevelopment of West Cumberland Hospital

  • Published date:
    8 July 2010
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley

Health Secretary announces redevelopment of West Cumberland Hospital

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has today announced his support for providing up to £70 million in Department of Health funding for the redevelopment of West Cumberland Hospital over three years.

The hospital's buildings urgently needed to be updated to allow NHS staff to work more efficiently, allow greater integration with community and primary care services, improve emergency care and increase the number of single rooms to improve patient privacy and dignity.

The redevelopment plans received widespread local support from healthcare staff, patients and residents in Cumbria through a public consultation in 2007-2008.

During a tour of hospitals in Cumbria, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:

'I am pleased to announce the Department of Health’s financial support for the rebuilding programme at West Cumberland Hospital.

'I have visited the hospital twice in the past. We appreciate how important their services are to the people of Cumbria. The need to maintain access to emergency care was reinforced by the tragic circumstances following the recent shootings.

'I and my colleagues in Government have looked with great care at the case for finding support for the rebuilding of Cumberland Hospital. While other new hospital schemes are being considered in the context of the Spending Review, Cumberland will be treated on an exceptional basis, given its stage of development, evident priority and the relationship with local economic redevelopment through the energy coast programme.

'The Government remains committed to consider all future hospital projects in the context of the Spending Review to ensure value for money and affordability of these schemes. Only priority projects will receive Government support.'

The new development includes plans for:

  • building a new modern A and E unit that is accessible by helicopter and access to key departments such as critical care and the medical assessment unit;
  • improving patient comfort and movement by having a single operating theatre suite close to ward areas instead of theatres dispersed at various locations around the hospital;
  • increasing the proportion of single rooms to meet the 50% minimum single sex accommodation requirement to ensure patient dignity and privacy;
  • refurbishment of the Women’s and Children’s Unit; and
  • demolishing deficient buildings to make space for improved parking facilities at the hospital.

Notes to editors

  1. NHS Cumbria’s public consultation in 2007/08, to which over 140,000 people contributed, identified the need for the redevelopment at West Cumberland Hospital, by establishing a sustainable, affordable, appropriate facility, fully integrating primary care.
  2. The North West Development Agency is contributing £10 million to the redevelopment, reducing the amount remaining to be funded to approximately £83 million, with £70m from the Department of Health.
  3. North Cumbria University Hospital Trust was established in 2001. It provides services from two hospital bases located in Carlisle (Cumberland Infirmary) and Whitehaven (West Cumberland Hospital)
  4. North Cumbria University Hospital Trust examined a range of options for a new facility and decided that the best cost effective option is to redevelop the existing West Cumberland Hospital site to create a modern and flexible health care facility.
  5. West Cumberland Hospital has received minimal investment since the original building was opened in 1964. 
  6. The remaining £83 million is likely to consist of up to £20million this year, £26 million in 2011-12 and £37 million in 2012-13.
  7. The Government is working on final conditions for the approval and will discuss with the Trust in due course.
  8. For media enquiries only, please contact the Department of Health Newsdesk on 020 7210 5221.

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