Wait for Treasury cash ‘won’t delay hospital new-build’
Last updated at 12:23, Thursday, 28 June 2012
THE Treasury has still to release the bulk of funding for the new West Cumberland Hospital – but the redevelopment won’t be delayed say health bosses.
The North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust – which runs the hospital – says it has approved another £200,000 of its share of the finances to keep the project on track and it expects Treasury approval anytime now.
Next Monday is the date for major building work to commence and although this won’t mean the beginning of new buildings going up it does mark the start of substantial work including a lot of preparatory work.
But once again Copeland MP Jamie Reed has warned about “celebrating before a brick has been laid” and said he feared there are issues which could “materially effect the final release of the money”.
This week the new £3.5million Yewdale Ward for mental health patients opened on target after undergoing a major refurbishment (see page two for further details).
Alistair Mulvey, the Trust’s deputy chief executive, said this probably signified the most spent on the hospital in the past decade and marked the start of major work on site which will now include stripping out the old Yewdale Ward and recycling materials before pulling it down.
“It’s a fantastic thing that’s happening,” said Mr Mulvey. “There will be a massive amount of activity taking place now, I accept that it won’t be the laying of bricks, but the building work has to start with stripping out,” he said.
Between September and November major groundworks will take place in preparation to build.
It is expected that the first concrete panels to go up for the new building – which will house wards and operating theatres – will be in the new year and that construction will be completed by the end of 2014. A phased occupation of the building will then happen in 2015 over a series of months.
Mr Mulvey said: “We have got approval from the Department of Health and we are still awaiting approval from the Treasury, that may or may not come by the end of June. The Department of Health has spoken to the Treasury and they have been asked to fast track it.”
Mr Reed said the project has been “delayed again and again”.
He told The Whitehaven News: “I have written to Treasury in an attempt to clear this log jam but I fear there are a number of issues not yet in the public domain – principally the number and level of services the hospital will provide – that materially effect the final release of the money.
“I'm told this decision will be fast-tracked, but it's already years late and the delay has caused the amount to be whittled down. The question is this: for Treasury to release money and approve a business plan, the services provided by the hospital must have been agreed. What are these services?”
In an interview with The Whitehaven News in January interim chief executive Neil Goodwin said the hospital WOULD retain all its current acute services including intensive care, 24-hour A&E, emergency medicine, maternity, children’s services and operating theatres.
Asked if this could change after the takeover, he said it was up to the GPs as commissioners to decide what services are provided locally and as there is an agreed plan between them and hospital consultants, it would be hard for another Trust to go against that.
The £90million hospital project – which will see the Whitehaven hospital rebuilt and refurbished – is made up of £70million from the Department of Health (yet to be released); £10million from regional health bosses (which has been spent); and £10million from the Hospitals Trust (partially spent).
A replacement for hospital project director David Hounslea now looks set to come from Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust which is in the process of taking over the local hospitals trust. In the meantime the remainder of the hospital project team say they have been working to keep everything on track.
First published at 11:08, Thursday, 28 June 2012
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
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That's what they want us to think. How can a delay in funding not ultimately cause delays in the long run? Any one else see flying pigs?
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