The 444-bed Cumberland Infirmary is expected to be completed on 1 April, just over two years after work began and around six weeks ahead of schedule. It will end a 136-year tradition of health services on the Carlisle General site.

The infirmary, which merges three sites on to one, was built in consultation with staff.

It boasts improved facilities and accommodation for patients, while services will be properly integrated - the x-ray department will be close to casualty, for example. Support services transferred to the private sector include estates management, domestics and porters, catering, laundry, telecommunications and waste disposal.