Hospital new-build needs another £20m says MP
Last updated at 11:44, Thursday, 18 October 2012
THE Government is being asked for a further £20million towards the West Cumberland Hospital redevelopment.
Copeland MP Jamie Reed says there isn’t enough money for the major project and has written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
New Northumbrian health bosses, in the process of taking over the hospital, say money is needed for new equipment and furniture as the £90million development planned by the current trust did not provide this.
Instead the North East trust wants to replace as much of this as possible.
As part of the total investment it is unclear how much of the original £10million commitment from North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust will be available as a result of its financial situation.
The original budget for the new West Cumberland Hospital was £100million before the abolishment of the North West Development Agency which resulted in the loss of its promised £10million.
Mr Reed wants to get back this £20million ‘shortfall’ and told The Whitehaven News: “It’s essential, that one way or another, we get the money we need to fund the hospital the community expects. Clearly, government should fund this and that’s why I’ve made this request. I have faith in Northumbria to get this right, but the outgoing chief executive clearly has questions to answer about the current state of the project.
“It is only the financial due diligence of Northumbria that has brought this to light. Nothing is more important than getting this right, we have clear expectations, the hospital staff have clear expectations and they must be delivered.”
And in the letter to Mr Hunt the Copeland MP wrote: “The worsening finances of the North Cumbria Trust make this £10m allocation either unlikely or significantly less than what the project and our community requires.”
Responding this week to the MP’s questions, the new boss of West Cumberland Hospital, Ann Farrar, said: “We are trying to secure funding to ensure that as much furniture and equipment is replaced as is possible and that any retained estate is fully refurbished so that it looks and feels brand new.” And she said the Trust’s financial position made its £10million investment “difficult to identify so we are currently trying to resolve this issue”.
Building work on the new hospital will start this year and finish by the end of November 2014 (open to patients by May 2015).
The £70million bulk of the funding will not be released by the Treasury until contractual agreement has been reached towards the end of November and then a final business case submitted, said the interim chief executive.
The details of internal plans, she said, are still being finalised. Regarding how many beds the hospital will have and the services it will provide, Mrs Farrar said it will have a total of 216 beds. However the figure agreed following the Closer to Home public consultation in 2007/8 was 220. The Trust was unable to provide an explanation for this.
Services, said Mrs Farrar, would be provided as defined in the Closer to Home strategy which allows the Whitehaven hospital to focus on more planned care such as orthopaedics, enabling over 300 patients to receive their care locally rather than travelling elsewhere. Emergency specialist care will be based at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, such as out-of-hours surgery and trauma.
A spokeswoman for the North Cumbria Trust said: “The Trust’s priority is to ensure that the modern hospital will deliver excellent innovative care which is fit for the future; therefore we are working hard to increase the level of funding available for this redevelopment. There are ongoing discussions taking place with a number of organisations regarding further funding and we will provide more information when we have secured this.
“As at the end of September, £18million has been spent on the redevelopment in order to carry out the preparatory works required including demolition to make way for the new-build, enabling works, infrastructure design and the provision of a state-of-the-art mental health facility. The funds have been provided by NHS North of England (£10 million); from the Trust’s own capital allocation for this redevelopment (£4 million) and from the Department of Health’s capital allocation for the redevelopment (£4 million) in accordance with the approved Business Case.”
First published at 11:09, Thursday, 18 October 2012
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
Have your say
Good old Jamie jumping on the bandwagon again. Pity he wasn,t such an authority on the subject whilst his government was making a complete hash of running our health service!!!!
Why wasn't this extra funding sort under the previous regime? Whilst any extra money would be welcomed, is this just another stalling tactic, so that they can further renegeon what was promised in closer to home?
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