Future of Carlisle's hospital radio in doubt

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The future of Carlisle’s long-running hospital radio station is in doubt, after its studio at the Cumberland Infirmary was shut down.

Radio Echo has been housed on the third floor of the hospital, in the roof section of the building, since it was relocated from the bottom of the condemned tower block building many months ago.

But building managers have now raised concerns about its new studio, saying the top section of the infirmary should only be used for storage.

The station has been forced to stop broadcasting while the issue is resolved.

Staff working for Hospedia, which provides TV and phone services to patients at the hospital, have also been moved out of this area.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said it is working to find a new location for the station as quickly as possible.

But at present Radio Echo - which has been in operation for 55 years - remains off air and its future uncertain.

A trust spokesman said the issue was identified during a routine inspection of the building.

It is not clear why the Radio Echo was ever given permission to use this part of the hospital, but it went on to spend “a considerable” amount of money and time installing the studio equipment.

A trust spokesman told The Cumberland News that it should never have been used for this purpose, only storage.

He said they have now escalated the issue, and hope to have a resolution soon.

“The trust has temporarily suspended the Cumberland Infirmary’s radio service Radio Echo while a new broadcast location is found.

“Their current location was found to be unsuitable in a routine audit of the hospital,” he explained.

“The trust will be working closely with the station to get the service back on air. We would like to thank all of our volunteers for their dedication and cooperation while these changes are taking place.

“The trust would also like to apologise to our patients for the current loss in service.”

The Radio Echo committee initially feared it would have to close, but are now hoping they could be handed anlifeline.

Members are currently waiting to find out whether a new location can be found at the infirmary.

A statement from the group said: “It would appear that our closure is temporary due to our current studio area being unsafe with regard to health and safety considerations.

“Either the area will be made safe or we will be found new premises. This will take some time so we are having a break.”

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