A business case for the second phase of the West Cumberland Hospital redevelopment in Whitehaven has been approved, following completion of the first phase in 2015.
Outline consent was awarded in October and a full planning application is expected to be submitted in the coming months.
The £40m second phase of the hospital redevelopment is intended to upgrade facilities for patients and staff to create a better environment, while retaining bed capacity and services and improving the hospital’s ability to undertake additional planned operations in future.
The scheme is being delivered by North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, which completed the first phase, which cost around £90m and saw the opening of the new hospital building, in 2015. Subsequent work completed in 2019 to open a breast screening department and redevelop the cardiology and vascular services at the hospital.
Overall, the second phase of the West Cumberland redevelopment aims to replace approximately 40% of the original structure. Demolition of existing hospital buildings has already been undertaken to make way for 60 inpatient beds, including elderly Ccare, step down facilities and end of life care.
The plans also include the creation of a short stay paediatric assessment unit, an assessment area and seven inpatient beds.
The formal approval of the outline business case by NHS Improvement is “a key milestone” in the project, the NHS trust said. The next phase will be to conduct further consultation with staff and the local community, then develop detailed designs for the final business case by the end of June before submitting a planning application.
Lyn Simpson, chief executive of North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, 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 £40m scheme will allow us to move forward with our ambitious plans for phase two of the build.”