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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Plea for £20m hospital shortfall is turned down

A PLEA for £20million from the Government to plug a shortfall in the cost of redeveloping West Cumberland Hospital has been turned down.

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shortfall: The West Cumberland Hospital

Copeland MP Jamie Reed made the request to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt after saying there was not enough money for the major project.

But he has been told that hospital bosses have to find any money needed themselves.

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.

And there is a question mark over how much of the original £10million commitment from North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust will be available as a result of its financial situation. Its takeover by Northumbria Foundation Trust has now been delayed beyond April 1 next year partly due to a “significant deterioration” in North Cumbria’s finances.

Northumbria says money is needed for new equipment and furniture which the original development planned by the current trust did not provide.

The £70million bulk of the funding has still not been released by the Treasury because contractual agreement has still not been reached.

Mr Reed told The Whitehaven News this week: “Construction has begun on the new West Cumberland Hospital, foundations are going in, yet we face a significant shortfall in funding from government – this is a deliberate policy seen across the country.

“I am prepared to be flexible about funding cuts from the government if the hospital delivers what we expect and what we have been promised in terms of beds and services, but right now it’s very hard to see how this is possible when government has taken one fifth of the funding from the project.

“I will be asking Northumbria University Hospital Trust to help me to lobby government to ensure that the funding gap is filled. The hospital we have been promised, and the services within it, must not be compromised – irrespective of NHS funding being cut and the secretary of State for Health returning ‘NHS underspend’ to the Treasury.”

The MP said resources were not being put into the community to provide sufficient out-of-hospital care, and the hospital project is “having its funding pilfered”.

“This is fast becoming a crisis,” he said. “Unless something significant changes soon, then the government will have killed ‘Closer to Home’, we’ll have wasted a fortune and we’ll be back to the drawing board. I want the government to help local partners to stop this from happening: we face a harsh winter and our health services are going to be stretched like never before. We owe a huge debt to those medical staff who work in such conditions to keep our local NHS operational.”

Have your say

Interesting that NCUH is in financial trouble and the redevelopment has stalled yet Mr Mulvey is now interim Finance Director at Arrowe Park Hospital where the previous project director also is now a director.

Posted by Observer on 18 December 2012 at 16:18

I can hear the trumpet now - don't worry the white knight from down the road will be along soon ( at least before decision day 30 Jan ). Remember 'community benefits'!!
What shall we call it ? The Sellafield wing or the Energy coast medical centre !! Sugestions on a postcard to your local MP.

Posted by John on 15 December 2012 at 11:52

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