24th January 2015
New West Cumberland Hospital energy centre ‘destroyed’
“Everything possible must be done to facilitate the quickest opening” – Reed
The opening of the new West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven has been delayed due to a fire in the biomass ‘energy centre’ set to provide the new £100m+ hospital with electricity. The fire occurred yesterday evening, hours after being handed over to the North Cumbria Acute Hospitals Trust by the principal contractor Laing O’Rourke.
The hospital trust has confirmed that the opening of the new hospital has now been set back by months.
Copeland MP and Shadow Health Minister Jamie Reed said:
“This is utterly devastating news for patients and staff alike. So many people have worked so hard for almost a decade to deliver this project and to face this delay on the eve of its opening is a bitter pill to swallow.
“In West Cumbria, resilience is our hallmark. A delay to the opening is now inevitable but I have today written to the Department of Health, the Trust Development Authority, NHS England and the Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service to ensure the following:
- That the cause of this fire is identified as quickly as possible
- That all necessary money is identified to replace the energy centre without delay
- That this replacement is not held up by any legal or contractual issues
- That business as usual continues at the West Cumberland Hospital prior to the new hospital being opened – however long this takes
- That the Trust is given all necessary resources to ensure that unavoidable and additional operational costs do not have to be found from existing budgets
“Additionally, I am seeking discussions with Monitor and the Care Quality Commission to determine what this event will now mean for ongoing inspections and the special measures regime.
“It’s now imperative that everyone involved with our local health economy pulls together in the same direction to ensure that the opening of the new West Cumberland Hospital and the transfer of staff and clinical services is achieved as quickly as possible. This is a sickening disappointment for the whole community; but the new hospital will open, we will get there.”