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Additional bed capacity created for Cumbrian hospitals

Work will begin today, 1 April, 2020, to transform leisure centres into additional NHS bed capacity. The work is being lead locally by agencies in Cumbria working as part of the Local Resilience Forum.

Andrew Slattery, Assistant Chief Constable and Chair of the multi-agency Cumbria Strategic Co-ordination Group, said: "I am pleased to be able to announce that through effective multi-agency working involving Cumbrian authorities and the Ministry of Defence, we are establishing an additional 500 patient beds across the county for Cumbria’s NHS organisations responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The additional beds will be available if our hospitals reach full capacity and beds will be allocated by our NHS colleagues as required. They will not be for general access by the public.

"The facilities will be established at Whitehaven Sports Centre, The Sands Centre in Carlisle, Penrith Leisure Centre and Kendal Leisure Centre. A final decision on the location of a facility in Barrow-in-Furness will be made later today. Equipment is being installed through this week with the assistance of Ministry of Defence troops who are supporting preparations in Cumbria.

"These facilities have been arranged locally in anticipation of the likely demand on NHS bed space. The full operational model of how the new facilities would work is still being developed. But work now will ensure that the basic physical infrastructure is in place should it be needed. This is a prudent and sensible approach given how this pandemic has developed in other countries.

"I am very grateful to all of those people who have helped us achieve this and the Strategic Coordinating Group will continue to support our NHS colleagues in any way we can."

Lyn Simpson, Chief Executive of North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust said: "We welcome the news that additional bed capacity will be available to us in the coming weeks in anticipation of increased demand on our services.  We are very grateful for the fantastic response from our multi agency partners in securing this additional capacity, and we will now work together to plan how these facilities can be used."

Dr Shahedal Bari, Medical Director, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust said: "On behalf of University Hospitals Of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, I would like to thank each and every one of the multi-agency teams involved, who by working together have made it possible to establish these additional beds to support our patients during these unprecedented circumstances in Morecambe Bay.

"We continue to be overwhelmed by the response from our staff and within the community who are going above and beyond every day."

ENDS