Saturday, December 31, 2011

West Cumberland Hospital business case looks set for approval

It looks like the business case for the £90 rebuild and refurbishment for West Cumberland Hospital is finally likely to be agreed within the next few weeks.

The West Cumberland News and Star reports that

"Major progress could be made within weeks on the £90 million plan to rebuild Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital.

The full business case for the landmark redevelopment of the infirmary is currently being considered by regional health chiefs."

The paper says that local NHS bosses are hopeful that the case will be approved at a Strategic Health Authority board meeting in January.

Their report continues:

"Progress at the West Cumberland Hospital is detailed in the latest newsletter on the development.

"It states that following months of work between its operators – the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust – and NHS Cumbria on a clinical strategy for the area, chiefs are “hopeful” that their business case will be approved.

That support is expected following a board meeting of the SHA in January.

Once that approval is in place, the scheme – one of the UK’s largest publicly-funded healthcare projects – will go to the Department of Health and Treasury for the final go-ahead.

"Plans for the West Cumberland involve partial demolition of the hospital, refurbishment of existing buildings, a new build and additional car parking.

Hospital management say another development milestone has been reached with detailed scale plans for every room of the new hospital being considered.

Clinicians and other department chiefs are now checking the intricate details for each room.

The signing off of these drawings will confirm taht every detail has been accounted for, including the number of sockets, light switches and beds needed.

"Elsewhere in west Cumbria, the SHA still has plans for the £11m rebuild bid for Cockermouth hospital and a new £4.1m health centre in Cleator Moor on its table.

In Cockermouth, the development replaces the Isel Road hospital, which is more than 100 years old.

It will also mean an end to the temporary accommodation on land next to the hospital, which houses two of the town’s GP practices after they lost their premises in the 2009 floods.

The new facility, which will create 55 jobs, will combine a nine-bed hospital, GP surgeries and a dentists.

"In Cleator Moor, the £4.1m health centre will be built between the Howgill Centre and the boxing club.

It will replace existing GP surgeries – Wath Brow and Wyndham Street."

See for updates on West Cumberland Hospital.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Lansley: I am strongly committed to WCH

Health secretary Andrew Lansley confirmed while visiting Cumbria last week that he remains "strongly committed" to supporting West Cumberland Hospital.

The Secretary of State was in Cumbria to open a new wing at the Eden Valley hospice near Carlisle.

He made his comments to Penrith and the Borders MP Rory Stewart, who had arranged for him to meet a senior local consultant and GP to hear their concerns about services in Cumbria during his visit.

Rory Stewart asked Mr Lansley to consider writing off the debts of the North Cumbria hospitals trust. The minister said that he might be willing to consider this provided the trusts can come up with a strong plan for the future.

I am pleased by the confirmation that the government remains committed to our hospital, but it remains imperative that we keep up the pressure on the trusts and the government to ensure it is understood that we need a comprehensive range of health services in both West Cumbria and Carlisle.