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Fire sets back Whitehaven hospital opening by months

A fire in the energy centre of the new West Cumberland Hospital building will set back its opening by months.

The local MP Jamie Reed took this photo of the damage Credit: Jamie Reed

Copeland MP Jamie Reed said the news was "utterly devastating" and he will now write to the Department for Health asking that money is put in place to rebuild the centre as quickly as possible.

The fire broke out last night (Friday, 23rd January) in the biomass fuel plant, which was to provide the power for the hospital. No patients or services were affected but the NHS Trust said delays in opening the £100m building were inevitable. It had been due to open in April 2015.

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'Devastating' fire at new West Cumberland Hospital

A fire has destroyed the energy centre at the new West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, which was due to open in April.

It broke out last night in the biomass fuel plant, which produces power for the building.

Firefighters spent four hours putting out the blaze and will now investigate what caused it.

The NHS Trust said no patients or services were affected, but the damage will delay the handover of the keys from developers to NHS staff, which was due to happen next week.

It could ultimately delay the moving-in date.

"This is absolutely devastating for me, the staff and the local community. We must let the investigators do their job to understand why this has happened at this time. We were all looking forward to moving into the new hospital and none of us can believe this has happened.”

– Ann Farrar, chief executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

Cumberland Infirmary renews Norovirus appeal

Norovirus continues to affect the Infirmary. Credit: ITV Border

People in the region are again being asked not to visit the Cumberland Infirmary unless they have a medical emergency, thanks to a Norovirus outbreak.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is restricting visitors to two per bed, and next of kin only. Children are asked to stay away, or for their parents to call beforehand.

In particular, the Trust's asking anyone with diarrhoea, vomiting or 'flu-like' symptoms, to stay away.

The number of patients in the hospital affected by Norovirus had initially reduced, but rose again today.

Council gives plain cigarette packets thumbs up

Cumbria County Council has welcomed news plain cigarette packaging could come into force in England by 2016.

Cigarette packets could be plain from May 2016. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The government has announced MPs will vote on the plan before the General Election in May.

If it passes, the law will mean packets need to be dull brown outside, and white inside.

The legislation won't apply to Scotland - unless Holyrood introduces similar rules.

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