12 December 2012,

Topping out for Cockermouth and Cleator Moor NHS LIFT projects

"Topping out" ceremonies were carried on 4th December at the £12.5 million community hospital in Cockermouth and the £6.5 million health centre in Cleator Moor.

GPs, nurses, staff and pharmacists who will be working in the two new health facilities currently being built in West Cumbria came together with League of Friends supporters, developer eLIFT Cumbria Limited and main contractor Robertson Construction NEE to mark the completion of the roofs on both sites.

A GP from each of the two practices which will be working from the new Cockermouth Hospital, including Dr John Howarth who was one of the first people to call for the rebuild of the health facility, and members of the League of Friends were given a guided tour of the building in construction, culminating with a climb onto the newly completed roof.

Dr Howarth said: "We have been talking about the new building for such a long time it is wonderful to have actually seen it develop and now to have been inside. It makes the development a reality, and we are looking forward to working from this new facility."

GP Dr Riaz Arif from Fellview Healthcare Limited, Branch Manager Elaine Hurst, nurse Helen Jackson, senior receptionist Val Pickthall and JN Murrays Pharmacy were also given a guided tour of their new health centre which is currently under construction at Cleator Moor.

The GP practice team and pharmacists were able to go into the spaces which will become their consultation rooms, reception and pharmacy when completed in the spring next year. They joined representatives of eLIFT Cumbria Limited and Robertson Construction NEE on the roof for a second topping out celebration of the day.

Dr Arif said: "This new health centre will enable us to offer our patients better service and provide a superior working environment for everyone."

Dr David Rogers, lead commissioning GP for Copeland, said: "Cleator Moor is an area in need of better health facilities. The new health centre will be an important resource when completed. Combined with the investment at Cockermouth this marks a big step-forward for health care in West Cumbria and will help enable us to plan and provide the best services for our patients."

Gary Naylor, General Manager of eLIFT Cumbria Limited, said "We're delighted to be here today; it's an important point in the programme and means that people now can begin to see how the building is taking shape."

Attention now turns to the interior of both facilities with gas, electricity and water services being connected up in the next few weeks.

The developments are funded and being delivered through the NHS Express LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust) programme.

The new hospital in Cockermouth is being built on land next to the current Cottage Hospital on Isel Road. It will replace the existing hospital which is more than 100 years-old and will provide new facilities for the town's GPs who are currently working out of temporary accommodation on the hospital site, following the floods which devastated Cockermouth in November 2009.

The new Health Centre on Birks Road in Cleator Moor will incorporate a range of health services in a new state of the art facility designed to ensure future healthcare needs are met.

Work on the Cleator Moor Health Centre will be completed by late spring 2013 with work on Cockermouth Hospital due to be completed in autumn 2013.