Opening of Cockermouth Community Hospital marks a new era in flood-hit town


State-of-the-art facility enables joined-up health services in 21st-century surroundings

Cockermouth residents have started to benefit from their new hospital and health centre in the heart of Cumbria, signalling new beginnings for a recovering community.

On the afternoon of Thursday, 19 November 2009, the rivers Derwent and Cocker burst their banks and flooded the Cumbrian town of Cockermouth, damaging homes, businesses and the local GP surgeries. Following the flood, the GP surgeries were decanted into temporary buildings on the local cottage hospital site to ensure continuity of care within the neighbourhood.

“As the extent of the damage was assessed, NHS Cumbria took the opportunity to review its health provision, deciding to create a new joined-up service,” said Justin Harris, architect and studio director at IBI Nightingale.

“This strategy inspired the new-build Cockermouth Community Hospital and Health Centre, to be delivered utilising the Express LIFT framework by NHS Cumbria’s development partner, eLIFT Cumbria, and designed to provide a 21st-century environment for patients, families and staff.”

Opening of Cockermouth Community Hospital marks a new era in flood-hit town

Responding directly to the local architectural vernacular, the new building is accessible and therapeutic. Situated close to the town centre, users benefit from views over the Cumbrian countryside and historic Cockermouth Castle.

“The families have had nothing but positive comments about the new hospital ward,” said Andrea Hendren, ward sister for Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the inpatient ward at the new development.

“The patients have settled in well and staff on the ward have said it’s a lovely environment, just like working in a private clinic.”

Designed and delivered in collaboration with eLIFT Cumbria Limited and head tenant, Community Health Partnerships, the new building houses GP and dental practices, together with imaging and inpatient facilities. The layout of the building promotes collaborative working between the different departments through the use of flexible, multi-functional, spaces. This reflects an aspiration to promote an integrated healthcare model.

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The building achieved a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating. Gary Naylor, eLIFT Cumbria general manager, said: “After so many years working towards delivering this new development after the floods we are delighted it is now open and to see the many benefits it is now bringing for the residents of Cockermouth and the staff who provide such excellent services from it. Everyone involved should be proud of their achievements in working together in partnership to deliver such a fantastic facility.”

Opening of Cockermouth Community Hospital marks a new era in flood-hit town