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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

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Building work on West Cumberland Hospital revamp to start in July

Building work on west Cumbria’s long-awaited new hospital will start on July 2.

This date is subject to the plans getting formal approval from the Department of Health and Treasury, meaning public funding can be released.

The £90 million project will see Whitehaven’s existing West Cumberland Hospital rebuilt on its current Hensingham site.

Planning permission has already been secured and the majority of demolition work has been carried out.

However building work cannot start until funding is approved, which will not happen until the scheme has the backing of local, regional and national health bosses.

The 220-bed hospital – to be made up of some new build and some refurbished buildings – has now been given the green light by NHS Cumbria and NHS North of England.

The North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is now waiting on the Government to ratify the plans and release the funding.

Finance director Alistair Mulvey told yesterday’s board meeting that he had met with the Department of Health on March 22 for informal discussions about the scheme. Although the finer details were not discussed, he is now confident the money will come through in time to start building work on site on July 2.

He added that the funding would be released in phases as the works progress.

The board meeting, held at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary, also heard that efforts to appoint a new project director for the West Cumberland Hospital development is underway. This follows the resignation of David Hounslea, who left earlier this year.

He had been in post since 2009 but left north Cumbria to join a trust in the Wirral as a board-level director.

Bosses expect to start advertising for his replacement by the end of the month.

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