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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > New West Cumberland Hospital on track to open in April 2015

New West Cumberland Hospital on track to open in April 2015

Posted on Wednesday 17th December 2014
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As 2015 approaches, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is gearing up to open the doors of the new West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven to patients in April.

The new hospital is the single biggest investment into healthcare in West Cumbria since the original hospital was opened by Her Majesty the Queen Mother half a century ago. The decision to redevelop the hospital was driven by the need to ensure patients in West Cumbria receive their healthcare in a modern fit-for-purpose hospital.

The £90 million redevelopment will be handed over to the hospital Trust next month, marking the completion of phase one. Les Morgan, director of redevelopment for the Trust, said: “We are all very much looking forward to opening the doors of the new West Cumberland Hospital to patients in April as scheduled.

“Laing O’Rourke, our construction partner, were due to hand the new building over to the Trust this Friday 19 December, marking the completion of phase one. This will now take place next month due to a number of system tests which are taking longer than anticipated. Crucially, this does not impact on the planned opening date for patients next year. The building is virtually finished and there are now some minor works to be completed which is common in a project as large as this. The Trust had already built in capacity for some extra time so we remain on track for April.”

After handover, the Trust will then immediately begin to commission the building in preparation for opening the doors to patients in April 2015 with a programme of staff training and induction commencing in January 2015. ‘Phase two’ of the redevelopment will start in summer 2015 which involves completely refurbishing a section of the existing hospital.

Building the new hospital has allowed the Trust to make many improvements including bringing services together which are currently scattered around the existing hospital. There is a new integrated emergency floor with A&E, ambulatory care, an emergency assessment unit and Cumbria Health On Call (CHOC), with health and social care professionals all working together to support people coming through the emergency doors of the new hospital. Patients in West Cumbria will also have access to a wider range of diagnostics including brand new static MRI and CT scanners as well as a larger endoscopy unit.

All of the operating theatres have also been brought together on a dedicated surgical floor which includes seven operating theatres, recovery bays and a surgical ward area with single en-suite rooms.

The Trust would like more patients from across north and west Cumbria to have quick access to outpatient appointments, day case procedures and inpatient planned (elective) operations and to have that planned care ‘closer to home’. This is already increasing and the fantastic new facilities at West Cumberland Hospital will allow for even more services to be available with extra capacity for outpatient appointments and more operating theatre space. The Trust also looks forward to providing services in West Cumbria which haven’t previously been available such as urology surgery using a specially installed laser.

Les Morgan added: “The new hospital is something for the community of West Cumbria to celebrate and we can’t wait for staff, patients and visitors to see their new state-of-the-art facility.”