Fantastic news for West Cumbria as next phase of WCH development gets final approval

Anyone who regularly visits the West Cumberland Hospital (WCH), as I do, cannot have failed to notice that building works and preparations have been proceeding at pace as some of the older wings replaced in the first major redevelopments funded and signed off by the Coalition and Conservative governments have been removed in preparation for the construction of more new hospital facilities. 

Yesterday it was confirmed that the £40 million investment plan for those new facilities has been approved, a fantastic development for West Cumbria.

A £40 million investment to deliver phase 2 of the WCH redevelopment has been approved by NHS Improvement.  It will bring a huge upgrade in facilities for both patients and staff creating a better environment, retaining bed capacity and services for the site and improving the capacity to undertake additional planned operations in the future.

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust has developed an ambitious plan to replace approximately 40% of the original structure at WCH and build upon the £90m phase 1 of the project which was completed in 2015 and on other developments since such as the improvements to A&E which have been taking place this month.. 

Demolition of the previous hospital buildings replaced by the new facilities which opened in 2015 has already been undertaken to make way for 60 inpatient beds, encompassing Elderly Care, Step Down facilities and End of life care. The plans also include a Short Stay Paediatric Assessment Unit, Assessment area and 7 inpatient beds.

The formal approval of the Outline Business Case is a key milestone in the project, and the next phase will be to further engage with staff and the community to develop final detailed designs for the Final Business Case (FBC) by the end of June 2021.  

The Trust will hold virtual events for staff and the wider community to gather views and feedback on the plans.

Lyn Simpson, Chief Executive said:

“We’re thrilled that the outline business case has been approved by NHS Improvement and is a proactive step towards the next stage of development.  This sends a very positive signal about the future of healthcare provision in West Cumbria and following an incredibly difficult year for our staff and the community, this news couldn’t come at a better time. The approval of the £40 million scheme will allow us to move forward with our ambitious plans for phase 2 of the build.”

People can find out more about the plans by visiting our website and can ask questions by attending our virtual meetings dates will be confirmed via our website in the coming days.

Work is now underway to develop the Full Business Case which will be submitted to NHS Improvement in June.


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