Start delayed on £90m Laing O’Rourke hospital

| Wed 6th April | 14:25

The start date for main construction work on Laing O’Rourke’s £90m West Cumberland Hospital contract in Whitehaven has been delayed by at least three months.

Construction of the new hospital was due to start in July but will not now start until October at the earliest.

And the job could be hit by a further delay of another four to five months following funding issues.

The project has been delayed in order to incorporate the findings of the new ‘clinical services strategy’ as well as fit within the £90m budget available.

The strategy sets out the way forward for health services, including at West Cumberland Hospital and the Cumberland Infirmary.

The News and Star reported that Kevin Clarkson, deputy chief executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust, said the full business case for the redevelopment is now not expected to be approved until May, instead of March as planned.

He told a trust board meeting yesterday that the start of the building work would therefore not be until October, subject to all approvals being given.

In addition to the current delay, there may also be a further hold up of four to five months as a result of financing the relocation of the mental health facility (Yewdale ward) on a different part of the site.

A number of ward changes are to take place in May in order to move the current mental health facility, which is set for demolition, elsewhere on site.

A request for a £3million loan has been made to the Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust (which runs mental health services) in order to finance the refurbishment works needed to convert the vacated areas for mental health use.

The trust cannot finance the work until the full business case has been approved and the money released but does not want to hold up the programme further by having to wait.

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How the revamped site will look

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