Topping-out ceremony held at two new health centres in west Cumbria

Event marks beginning of fit-out at Cleator Moor and flood-ravaged Cockermouth developments

The new Cockermouth Hospital will provide accommodation for GP practices which have been working out of temporary accommodation since devastating floods hit the area in 2009

Work to create a new state-of-the-art healthcare building for community and GP services devastated by the flooding in Cockermouth in November 2009 is nearing completion.

A topping-out ceremony has been held at the new £12.5m community hospital which will replace the existing facility which is more than 100 years old and provide new facilities for the town's GPs who are currently working out of temporary accommodation on the hospital site following the floods that devastated the area.

To mark the completion of the roof of the premises, GPs, nurses, staff and pharmacists who will be working in the new facility came together with League of Friends supporters; developer eLIFT Cumbria; and main contractor, Robertson Construction NEE.

The team also took part in a second topping-out ceremony as part of the creation of a new £6.5m primary care centre in nearby Cleator Moor.

Dr John Howarth, who will work at the new facility in Cockermouth, said that facility would improve healthcare services in the area, adding: “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."

Commenting on the Cleator Moor development, Dr David Rogers, lead commissioning GP for Copeland, added: "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."

Now the external structure is complete, attention turns to the interior of both facilities, with gas, electricity and water services being connected over the next few weeks.

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

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

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