A £100m redevelopment of West Cumberland Hospital is set to go ahead after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley signed off £70m in Department of Health funding for the scheme.
Laing O'Rourke had previously been awarded the construction contract.
The hospital's buildings will be updated to allow allow greater integration with community and primary care services, improve emergency care and increase the number of single rooms to improve patient privacy and dignity.
Lansley said: “I and my colleagues in Government have looked with great care at the case for finding support for the rebuilding of Cumberland Hospital. While other new hospital schemes are being considered in the context of the Spending Review, Cumberland will be treated on an exceptional basis, given its stage of development, evident priority and the relationship with local economic redevelopment through the energy coast programme.
“The Government remains committed to consider all future hospital projects in the context of the Spending Review to ensure value for money and affordability of these schemes. Only priority projects will receive Government support.'
The new development includes plans for:
- building a new modern A and E unit that is accessible by helicopter and access to key departments such as critical care and the medical assessment unit;
- improving patient comfort and movement by having a single operating theatre suite close to ward areas instead of theatres dispersed at various locations around the hospital;
- increasing the proportion of single rooms to meet the 50% minimum single sex accommodation requirement to ensure patient dignity and privacy;
- refurbishment of the Women’s and Children’s Unit; and
- demolishing deficient buildings to make space for improved parking facilities at the hospital.