A new Endoscopy Unit is set to be built on the grounds of the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle after £15m has been secured from NHS England.
The new building will be linked to the main hospital and next to the Cancer Centre. The funding is the latest in a series of major investment announcements from NCIC including the £40m second phase of the West Cumberland Hospital redevelopment and £15m Community Diagnostic Centre planned in Workington.
Mr Daya Karat, consultant surgeon at NCIC, explains: “This is really good news for our local communities across north Cumbria and for our staff.
“When it is up and running the new facility will have more clinics rooms that all meet modern standards which we are not able to meet in the current environment. We will also be able to treat more patients so it will help reduce our waiting lists and improve timely diagnosis, particularly for cancers. National data shows that more cancers are being diagnosed at a later stage so we must do everything we can to change that trend. Expanding our endoscopy service will help us to make faster diagnoses and meet the rising demand for the service. It also brings the Unit in line with what we already have at the West Cumberland Hospital following the redevelopment in 2015.”
The Cumberland Infirmary currently has only one endoscopy room which is of a suitable size and two smaller rooms that do not meet national accreditation standards. The new build will include five clinical rooms as well as an outpatients area. The expansion of the service also means patients currently travelling to Newcastle for a procedure can be seen more locally in Carlisle.
The main benefits of the unit are:
- Patients will be able to access endoscopy faster - 99% of patients will receive their diagnostic procedure within six weeks of referral in line with national standards
- The additional rooms will have capacity to provide a further 30 lists per week avoiding unneccesary travel outside of the region
- Accreditation with the national Joint Advisory Group (JAG) on GI Endoscopy will be achievable, showing best practice and the highest of standards
Mr Karat, added: “As well as a better environment for patients, the unit will also provide improved training facilities for our staff. Any vacancies we have will be filled with mainly current staff who have expressed an interested in expanding their skills.
“Moving the unit out of its current location in the main hospital also frees up space to expand other departments at the Cumberland Infirmary which is a further positive for both staff and patients”
A planning application is set to be submitted in the next few weeks with building work scheduled to start in early 2024. The aim is to complete the project before March 2025.