Plans for a £3.4 million upgrade of the Heart Centre at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary have been given the go-ahead.
The project will provide two new state-of-the-art catheter labs and a renovated ward area.
Dr Louise Buchanan, associate medical director for medicine, said: “All patients across north Cumbria who need emergency treatment for a severe heart attack or who need specialist cardiac treatment are supported by The Heart Centre.
“There are more than 2,000 procedures – both planned and emergency – carried out each year there. The treatments include coronary angiography, in which X-ray is used to obtain images of the heart arteries and percutaneous coronary intervention – a procedure that can be used to unblock a blood vessel and implant a stent to keep the artery open.
“There is currently only one catheter laboratory in the centre that can be used to carry out all these services.
“The extra lab will mean that there will be less impact on planned procedures should a patient need emergency care. This will improve patient experience and increase the numbers of patients who can be treated in a more timely way.”
Before the introduction of the specialist heart service in 2011 many patients had to travel to Newcastle or Middlesbrough for treatment.
Preliminary work to start refurbishment to the ward area and work to upgrade the power supply to The Heart Centre has already started.
There will be those in West Cumbria who think that services like this should be provided at West Cumberland Hospital, and I agree that we should provide as many services as possible as locally as possible. Ideally I would like to see similar improvements at WCH.
However I hope we can avoid the mistake of thinking that improvements to care at Carlisle are bad news for people in the West, because these new services are not being taken away from WCH. People in North and West Cumbria will be able to get care in Cumbria for which they would previously have had to travel much further.