A life-saving service which provides treatment to patients from across north Cumbria has been awarded funding of £3.4m.

The Heart Centre, based at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, will benefit from the construction of two new catheter laboratories which will reduce waiting times and improve service quality for patients.

The existing Centre, which opened in 2011, provides both planned and urgent cardiology care with 24/7 access. Patients who suffer from a heart attack from across north Cumbria are brought straight to the Heart Centre where they can undergo Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) which significantly improves patient outcomes. North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) is one of only three acute trusts in the North East & Cumbria which provides this emergency service.

Currently, the Centre has one PCI catheter lab where over 2,000 procedures (both emergency and planned) take place every year. The capital funding will allow the Trust to both replace the current catheter lab and provide an additional lab.

Dr Louise Buchanan, clinical director for cardiology at the Trust, explains: “We are delighted to have secured funding for the provision of two new catheter labs at the Heart Centre.

“Currently, our elective/planned lists can be impacted when an emergency patient comes in to be urgently treated in the lab. The provision of two labs will allow our elective lists to continue alongside treating our emergency patients therefore improving the quality of service we can deliver to all of our patients and reducing our waiting lists.

“The labs will be built directly next to the current Heart Centre at the front of the Cumberland Infirmary. We have longer term plans to further improve our cardiology facilities but this is a fantastic first step in our plan. We look forward to the installation of the new labs during 2021.”

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