A HOSPITAL once threatened with closure has shown off its new facilities.

In 2016, Maryport Hospital was one of several community hospitals that were at risk of closure.

But following campaigning from the community and extensive renovation work, staff are now able to offer more services to patients across the county.

MP Sue Hayman did the honours at a ribbon-cutting event yesterday, and officially declared the hospital's new facilities open.

She said: "The refurbishment of the hospital is fantastic – it's so much brighter and cleaner. It's also great to see the hospital so buzzing and staff so happy to be here!"

She added, commenting on the strongly-opposed removal of the hospital beds: "We're all disappointed with the decision to take the beds out, and people were concerned the hospital would be closed.

"It's just really good to see this investment into the hospital, and see more facilities available to people on their doorstep."

Victoria Cottage Hospital now boasts a transfusion suite with fully reclining chairs, which can accommodate five patients at a time to receive IV antibiotics, blood transfusions amongst other treatments.

Two clinical rooms for dressings, bladder scanning and other minor clinical interventions have also been opened, as well as a new rehab centre fully equipped with a well-established team and gym facilities.

Work on the project began in early February, with a smaller unit being run while the renovations were underway, and has been fully operating since July.

Professor John Howarth, deputy chief executive of the trust, believes the refurbishment may not have been carried out if it weren't for community-led campaign group Save Our Beds, and the support of the Maryport community.

The campaign was led by Bill Barnes, Chairman of Ewanrigg and Netherton tenants' and residents' association, and supported by League of Friends, who have donated equipment such as operating beds over the years.

Mr Howarth said: "If it weren't for the campaign, I don't think the hospital would be here.

"The trust have all really fought for Maryport, and we've been given a great outcome.

Dedicated campaigner Bill was pleased the impact of Save Our Beds was recognised, and added: "I'm at this hospital every week for treatment, so it's very personal to me.

"I only live 200yds away, and before I came here I'd have to make the 200 mile journey to Newcastle. People come from all over for treatment here now, and it's wonderful that the hospital was given this new life."

Bill commented that "it is sad that we lost the beds", but feels the new facilities will help everyone who needs treatment, and that "is of the upmost importance".

League of Friends Chairman Joan Risely said: "The refurbishment has been done very sympathetically, and it looks very good and welcoming.

"We're still disappointed the beds aren't here, but as it was thought the hospital would close, we're pleased that people can still come here, and hopefully amenities will continue to increase."