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£70M hospital revamp to go ahead

The Government has announced it will make a “special case” of West Cumberland Hospital near Whitehaven in order to guarantee the site gets the “urgent improvements it needs” through £70M of funding.

During a visit to the hospital, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley backed the redevelopment scheme and confirmed financial support from the Department of Health will be forthcoming over a three-year period.

Laing O’Rourke had been due to begin the build in April. However, the Coalition put a freeze on all major health projects despite early stage work having been started. Funding for the project has been supported by the North West Development Agency, the Strategic Health Authority and the North Cumbria University Hospital Trust which have each put in £10M.

The redevelopment plans, which were muted as far back as 2007, have been welcomed by healthcare staff, patients and residents.

“I am pleased to announce the Department of Health’s financial support for the rebuilding programme at West Cumberland Hospital,” said Mr Lansley

“I have visited the hospital twice in the past. We appreciate how important their services are to the people of Cumbria. The need to maintain access to emergency care was reinforced by the tragic circumstances following the recent shootings.”

“I and my colleagues in Government have looked with great care at the case for finding support for the rebuilding of Cumberland Hospital. While other new hospital schemes are being considered in the context of the Spending Review, Cumberland will be treated on an exceptional basis, given its stage of development, evident priority and the relationship with local economic redevelopment through the energy coast programme.”

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