Work to start on £20m revamp of Cumbria's health services


Financial close reached on plans to modernise facilities in flood-hit area

Plans to build a community hospital and health centre in flood-ravaged Cockermouth and Cleator Moor reached financial close this week, paving way for work to begin on the long-awaited schemes.

The developments are being funded and delivered through the NHS Express LIFT programme and will provide a new hospital in Cockermouth next to the current Cottage Hospital in Isel Road. The £12.5m facility will replace the existing buildings, which are more than 100 years old, and will also provide accommodation for the town’s three GP practices, which have been working out of temporary buildings since floods devastated the area in 2009. Under the proposals, they will combine to provide a new integrated care organisation, with additional space for practice nurses, visiting consultants and administrative staff. The hospital will also provide 12 single en-suite community hospital beds, as well as diagnostic facilities, dental services, space for Cumbria County Council’s children’s services team, and a dispensing pharmacy.

LIFT Company, eLIFT Cumbria, is also behind plans for a new £6.5m health centre on Birks Road in Cleator Moor, which will provide space for two primary care practices and a pharmacy.

Together, the developments mark the largest single investment in west Cumbria’s healthcare services to date.

Work on both developments will start this month, with the new Cockermouth Hospital due for completion in autumn 2013; while the Cleator Moor health centre will open in late spring 2013.

Gary Naylor, general manager of eLIFT Cumbria, said: "We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone on these two schemes and look forward to continuing to work with NHS Cumbria through the construction stage to enable patients to be seen from these new facilities next year."

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Lead GP for Copeland, Dr David Rogers, added: “The combined investment marks a big step forward for health care in west Cumbria and will help enable us to plan and provide the best services for our patients."