Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Fantastic news for West Cumberland Hospital: final approval given for £40 million Phase II redevelopment

Marvellous news for patients and staff in West Cumbria as final confirmation has been given of the approval of the £40 phase two redevelopment of the hospital to provide new facilities.

I have had an email in the last 24 hours from the communications manager of NCIC which reads as follows (there is also a detailed report in the Whitehaven News out today)

"We are delighted to confirm that we have now received final approval for phase two of the West Cumberland Hospital redevelopment from the Department of Health and Social Care.

The £40 million project will replace up to 40% of the original hospital and build upon the £90m investment from phase one of the project which was completed in 2015. The new build will bring a huge upgrade in facilities for both patients and staff creating an improved environment while retaining bed capacity and services for the hospital.

The new build will include: a paediatrics unit, a care of the elderly ward, a specialist palliative care/step down ward and a stroke/rehabilitation ward. Establishing a suitable design for phase two has been a collaborative process between colleagues across the Trust, ensuring the design is clinically-led.  

The design has been created and modified to accommodate the changing landscape within healthcare. Elderly care will have both four bedded areas as well as single rooms after feedback from patients stated they felt they benefitted from the company of others while recognising single rooms allow for privacy. All areas will adhere to infection prevention best practice.  

The project is expected to be complete by 2024 and we will continue to provide regular updates on progress and opportunities to get involved.

You can now view the plans for phase two here." 


Paul Holdsworth said...

Isn't this part of the government's 2019 manifesto pledge to build 40
"new" hospitals? The one that's just been red flagged as unachievable?

The DHSC "New Hospital Programme Communication Playbook" says you should have referred to it as a "New Hospital": major refurbishments and new wings/units which are part of the scheme "must always be referred to as a new hospital".

But (commendably) you haven't - I hope it doesn't get you into trouble.

I guess maybe you were living up to this aspiration: "Perhaps many of us, including myself, should ask ourselves if we speak or write in code too often and could sometimes be clearer."

Keir Starmer was pretty clear: "We can all agree that refurbishments are a very good thing, but they’re not new hospitals".

Chris Whiteside said...

No, the redevelopment of West Cumberland Hospital (WCH) has not been claimed as one of the 40 new hospitals - it goes back too far, and it has been described all along as a redevelopment or refurbishment, not a new hospital. (David Cameron found the £90 million for the first phase back in 2010.)

But the the original and subsequent major improvements to the hospital including this further £40 million does represent very good news for staff at WCH and patients in West Cumbria and obviously Copeland Conservatives can and will point to it as an example of a promise kept because this is something we said we would fight for.

Chris Whiteside said...

The scheme we have in Cumbria which is one of the projects officially included in the list of the 40 new hospitals is the magnificent new £35 million cancer care facility at Carlisle.

The Northern Centre for Cancer Care's North Cumbria site was opened by Sajid Javid last year and is treating patients. And it is a new facility, not a refurbishment.

Rather than not get into an argument with anyone about whether this is a new hospital project, a new hospital building or a new hospital: I think it's probably more helpful to say what it actually is, which is a fully operational and self contained facility to provide non-surgical cancer services under one roof to the local population of North Cumbria on the site of the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.

It brings huge benefits to people who need to access cancer services in north Cumbria as the majority of adult patients will now receive care closer to home in state-of-the-art facilities.

The most recent statement from the Trust said that "Around 2,000 patients are already set to receive treatment or follow-up care with approximately 1,200 new referrals each year. Our team also expect to deliver approximately 11,500 radiotherapy treatments and 8,000 chemotherapy treatments, as well as 4,000 supportive therapy treatments, a year."

all non-surgical cancer services are under the same roof, which means patients no longer have to travel to different parts of Cumberland Infirmary for treatment.

The new service includes

a chemotherapy day unit with 15 treatment chairs and three single treatment rooms,
two linear accelerator (LINAC) radiotherapy machines,
a CT scanner suite,
consultation, examination rooms and a small café area,
multipurpose rooms for complementary therapies and patient support.

Paul Holdsworth said...

Well there's no question both projects are very good news indeed. I'm sorry I wrongly associated one of them with a meretricious campaign promise from 2019. And it sounds like the new cancer care centre in Carlisle can certainly to stand on its (very impressive) merits.