Coronavirus: Cumbria leisure centres being turned into hospitals

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image captionThe Sands Centre in Carlisle is one of four leisure centres to have NHS beds installed

Four leisure centres and a school in Cumbria are to be turned into makeshift hospitals to create 500 extra beds amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Authorities said the move was in anticipation of the "likely demand on NHS bed space" in the county.

The new hospitals will be in Whitehaven, Carlisle, Penrith, Barrow and Kendal and will be created with the support of the Army.

There are currently 380 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Cumbria.

'Not for public access'

Cumbria Police's Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Slattery, who is the chairman of the Cumbria Strategic Co-ordination Group, said: "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 at:

  • Whitehaven Sports Centre
  • The Sands Centre in Carlisle
  • Penrith Leisure Centre
  • Kendal Leisure Centre
  • Furness Academy in Barrow

Lyn Simpson, chief executive of North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said she was "very grateful" for the extra beds.

Dr Shahedal Bari, medical director at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We continue to be overwhelmed by the response from our staff and within the community who are going above and beyond every day."

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