North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

01228 523444 North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, Cumberland Infirmary, Newtown Road , Carlisle, Cumbria, CA2 7HY

4.5 out of 5 stars

Based on 7 ratings for this trust



  • National NHS awards win highlights recruitment and training efforts in Cumbria
  • Continued success for the Cumberland Infirmary's Medical Procedures Unit
  • West Cumberland Hospital is growing its own medical talent

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust 

The Trust provides acute hospital services across North Cumbria. The main hospitals are the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven. All the main specialties are available on both sites. We also offer outpatient and maternity services at other community locations, including Brampton, Haltwhistle, Alston, Penrith, Kirkby Stephen, Wigton, Keswick, Cockermouth, Maryport, Workington and Millom.

Latest news

National NHS awards win highlights recruitment and training efforts in Cumbria

National NHS awards

The NHS in Cumbria has been recognised nationally for innovation and collaboration after winning two awards at the Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA) Excellence awards which took place on Thursday 22 June.

The HPMA awards recognise and reward outstanding work in healthcare human resource management. North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust won the ‘Innovation in HR’ award for the Composite Workforce Model which has been developed at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven. The Trust also made the top three for the ‘Working Smarter’ award, regarding reducing and tackling agency spend.

Having recognised the serious gaps in the medical workforce at West Cumberland Hospital, the Trust sought to create a new model which would provide a sustainable clinical workforce to ensure the continued provision of services. The Composite Workforce Model means that the traditional non-training junior and middle grade medical roles in acute medicine can be replaced by suitably trained and experience clinicians from a variety of clinical backgrounds.

Dr Katie Poulton, consultant acute physician at West Cumberland Hospital who helped to create the model, said: “I am delighted that we have received national recognition for our workforce model which is the result of a lot of hard work.

“We knew that we were simply not going to recruit into medical roles in the traditional way so in order to provide a positive solution, we came up with a model which deliberately blends a variety of health professionals to make full use of their experience and expertise. The roles include advanced clinical practitioners, academic fellows, GP trainees and physician associates

“We are working with our partners at the University of Cumbria, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Health Education North West to provide training for the roles. The model is providing innovative career pathways for staff as well as reducing the amount of money spent on locum staff. By the end of 2018, it is intended that all 28 trainee advanced clinical practitioners will have achieved Masters status. Through this approach, we are building a workforce for the future in West Cumbria.”

The Trust was also pleased to finish in the top three for the ‘Working Smarter’ award for reducing and tackling the Trust’s spend on locum staff.  This new award was looking for initiatives that demonstrated how HR teams have worked ‘smarter’ to save money while still improving quality, safety and patient care.

Christine Brereton, director of human resources and organisational development at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The Trust’s spend on agency staff, particularly medical staff, had continued to increase therefore we established an in-house Agency team to ‘gate-keep’ and control all bookings from departments and to liaise directly with agencies. As a result of this work, the Trust has made many safety and quality improvements as well as saving £5 million in agency spend in 2016/17 which is outstanding. We are now being asked to share our approach across other NHS Trusts.”

Following the success of a training programme for registered nurses, CLIC’s project provided the opportunity to deliver free clinical skill awareness workshops for all non-registered health and care support workers across the independent sector and NHS. Between June 2016 and February 2017, 177 workshops were delivered with over 1,300 different staff trained from over 250 places of work.

Christine Brereton added: “One of the Trust’s top priorities is to recruit more doctors, nurses and health professionals to our organisation. Winning and being shortlisted for these national awards highlights our commitment to seeking workforce solutions in order to provide safe, high quality services at both of our hospital sites. We hope the award wins will draw attention to the fantastic career pathway opportunities here in West, North & East Cumbria as well as the excellent training provided by CLIC.”

Last updated on 30 June 2017.

Continued success for the Cumberland Infirmary's Medical Procedures Unit

Medical Procedures Unit

The Medical Procedures Unit (MPU) at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, continues to go from strength to strength with a recent patient experience survey (May 2017) showing that 100% of patients surveyed on the unit would be highly likely or likely to recommend the service to their friends and family.

In addition, the unit was highlighted as an area of ‘outstanding practice’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following the Trust’s most recent inspection. The CQC said in their report that ‘the growth, expansion, and development of the MPU service was impressive.”

The unit offers patients more comfort and privacy, and avoids the need for admission to a hospital bed. A dedicated and experienced nursing team care for patients who may attend the hospital on a regular basis for treatment such as infusions of biological therapies and blood transfusions, or require a day case treatment. Before the unit opened in September 2015, these treatments would have been undertaken in a variety of different settings across the hospital. Since opening, the unit has carried out 3,750 procedures.

Comments from patients include:

“The staff couldn't be better and they treat me as one of the family.”

“The staff work brilliantly together. I have been treated with respect and dignity, very much so. I am happy with the amount of information I have been given, more than enough.”

“The staff are excellent, very friendly and professional”.

Claire Moynan, deputy ward manager for the MPU, said: “The feedback from patients has been wonderful and we’re really pleased the CQC share our patients’ views. We see many patients again and again who give positive feedback about the care they receive.”


Last updated on 07 June 2017.

West Cumberland Hospital is growing its own medical talent

Physician Associate Students

Fourteen physician associate students are training and living in West Cumbria as North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust seeks innovative solutions to recruitment challenges in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The students, the majority of whom have relocated from across the country, are training at UCLan’s established West Cumberland Medical Education Centre at Westlakes Science Park in Whitehaven. They are being taught their basic sciences using the latest technology in video conferencing alongside the wider Preston cohort of students. The students are also spending time just a mile away at the recently redeveloped West Cumberland Hospital where they will also undertake their clinical placements.

The physician associate students already have a degree in healthcare sciences prior to taking on the two-year PGDip course which will equip them with a range of medical skills equivalent to those of a newly qualified doctor.  The role of a physician associate includes interviewing and examining patients, ordering and interpreting tests and making decisions about patient management.

This course is provided in partnership with Health Education England North West (HEENW) along with Lead Employer, St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust, as part of the North West Physician Associate Pilot programme.

Dr Katie Poulton, consultant acute care physician at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to welcome the students to West Cumberland Hospital. Roles such as the physician associate, as well as advanced clinical practitioners, clinical fellows and GPs with specialist interests are the people who can form the workforce for the future rather than the traditional medical model which is subject to national shortages.”

Dr Eric Bater, academic lead for the physician associate programme at UCLan, said: “The Physician Associate training programme is the result of an exciting collaboration between North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, Cumbria Partnership  NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group. The two-year programme will train our students to a level of expertise similar to that of a junior doctor, and will equip them to play an important part of healthcare teams both in hospital and in general practice.

Although Physician Associates are a regular part of healthcare teams in places such as the USA it is only recently that the role has developed in the UK.  West Cumbria is at the forefront in training this new kind of clinician. We are sure the PA students will enjoy working in this part of the country and will wish to stay and become very valued members of the health teams.”

One of the students, Modupe Ogundele, has relocated from Essex with her three children for a place on the course. She said: “It is a beautiful place to live – the people are nice and my children have settled in very well. I am very happy that I made the right choice to move here.”

Another student, Gareth Bell, is from Whitehaven and is very pleased that opportunities such as the physician associate course have become available in West Cumbria. He said: “I believe that the UCLan PA course is a vital resource for the county I live in, it is allowing more skilled professionals to enter the area to aid with the shortfall that currently exists. The program is also allowing Cumbrians the opportunity to study a medical-related course allowing excellence to remain in Cumbria and local people the chance to give something back to the community they love being part of.”


Last updated on 07 June 2017.

Latest reviews of this trust

Recent total left knee replacement surgery

Upon my total left knee replacement surgery on May 30th I was admitted to Maple C , I cannot praise the staff enough for their profession...

30 June 2018

Day care surgery

Couldn’t fault anything with this department during my brief stay for surgery, the nurse on the day provided excellent care along with ev...

19 April 2018

My stay in Maple Ward D

I was recently in the Maple Ward D in North Cumbria University Hospital. I had a bimalleolar fracture of the ankle requiring setting and ...

22 January 2018

To acknowledge good service

Please pass on my appreciation the teams in the Day Case Unit at West Cumberland Hospital. Without exception all the staff who were invo...

11 December 2017


The clinic was overflowing - around 20% couldn't access seats, many of them being elderly individuals with mobility aids. That's just a d...

10 September 2017

Last updated on 10 July 2018.

Information supplied by North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust