Construction is underway for a new £8.6 million Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) at Westmorland General Hospital (WGH) in Kendal.

The CDC will house new MRI and CT scanning suites, a reception area, waiting room, and consulting rooms.

It will offer a range of diagnostic tests including CT, MRI, x-ray imaging, endoscopy, and pathology.

The CDC is supported by National Community Diagnostic Centre funding to improve and increase diagnostic services at WGH over a three-year period.

There are already four community diagnostic centre hubs in Lancashire and South Cumbria, providing convenient access to a variety of diagnostic tests in one location.

Joanne Park, Head of the Radiology Departments at WGH and Furness General Hospital, is one of the leaders of the new development.

Joanne said: “The new centre will be a huge improvement for our patients because there will be a much nicer environment. People can feel nervous about coming in for tests, so having welcoming and modern facilities will hopefully improve their experience. It will also be better for families and carers as everything will be in one unit and the access will be easier.

“The CDC will enable us to be more flexible as a team and all of our stores and equipment will be in one place. This should save time and make our service more efficient and cost effective as everything will be close to hand.

“Patients will be able to come directly into the new unit and they won’t have to wait in the Outpatients Reception or go to different areas of the hospital for tests.

“Our Capital Services Team is doing a great job of building the new centre. We are very excited to be setting up this valuable service in Kendal.”

The construction of the new centre began in June and is estimated to be completed by May 2024.

The building is being constructed on the site of the hospital's old mortuary, which is being demolished and replaced.

Scott McLean, Chief Operating Officer, UHMBT, said: “We welcome this major and well deserved investment at WGH which will bring crucial tests closer to home and will help us to improve outcomes for patients with serious conditions, ultimately sparing more patients and families the pain and trauma of disease.

“Patients and staff will benefit as the centre will have a more modern and attractive environment as well as the latest technology. The investment will also bring with it exciting new employment opportunities and the enhanced facilities should make it more attractive to potential new recruits.

“By locating the centre at WGH, this will help our hospitals in Barrow and Lancaster to focus more on complex cases and on urgent and emergency care. It will also support our plans to develop Kendal as a surgical hub.”