Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lansley confirms WCH rebuild will be funded

Conservative Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has visited West Cumberland Hospital and confirmed that the hospital will get at least £70 million from the government for the redevelopment project.

The Health Secretary met staff to thank them for their hard work following the tragic shootings, and said:

"I and my colleagues in Government have looked with great care at the case for finding support for the rebuilding of West Cumberland Hospital.

"While other new hospital schemes are being considered in the context of the spending review, West 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."

Following the election the new coalition government put a hold on all major health projects. This freeze initially included the £100 million redevelopment of the hospital, because despite work being under way and buildings demolished, the previous Labour government had not actually got around to approving even the outline business case.

On top of the £70 million confirmed as coming from the new coalition government, £10million is coming from the North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust and £10million from the Strategic Health Authority.

There is a potential £10 million shortfall representing money which had been due to come from the North West Development Agency (NWDA), which is said to be the subject of current discussions between health bosses and the NWDA.

The Department of Health will provide up to £70 million for the redevelopment of the hospital over three years. Andrew Lansley told the Whitehaven News:

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

"This is the most significant investment into the healthcare of West Cumbria and I am overjoyed for the community that they will now have brand new clinical facilities that will provide high-quality care for the future."

Hospital boss, Carole Heatly, said:

"This is just fantastic news and I am absolutely thrilled we have been provided with the major part of our funding and the redevelopment of the West Cumberland Hospital can progress full steam ahead."