NHS Cumbria has estimated the bill for maintaining flood-ravaged health services in the region could reach almost £7m - before any permanent health facilities are built to replace those lost.

Dr John Howarth, a Cockermouth GP and clinical director at NHS Cumbria, said: “The floods were a major disaster for our communities. But our staff worked tirelessly to create access for cut-off or displaced residents.

“Some services are now being delivered differently to ensure patient care is maintained and we will continue to work alongside local communities to help them rebuild and recover.

“The support we have received so far from the North West Strategic Health Authority has been invaluable and we are confident that extra financial support will be provided to help meet the additional cost to local health services from this unprecedented event.”