Countdown begins to Northumberland emergency care changes

Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital.
Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital.

The new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital will open in two weeks, it was confirmed today.

Leaders at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said today that the hospital will open at 6am on Tuesday, June 16.

At the same time, changes will take place in emergency care at the trust’s general hospitals in Wansbeck, North Tyneside and Hexham, which will become 24-hour walk-in services providing urgent care for less serious conditions.

Once the new Northumbria hospital opens its doors to the public, it will treat all seriously ill or injured people from across Northumberland and North Tyneside. Most patients will arrive by emergency blue light ambulance or emergency GP admission and some people may arrive themselves.

With two weeks to go until the changes in emergency care take place, the trust has launched the second phase of a widespread public awareness campaign to make sure people know where to go for help whether they need urgent care, or are faced with a serious emergency.

High-profile advertising will take place across local bus services, on the Tyne and Wear Metro system, on large exterior billboard sites, on local radio stations, as well as significant awareness raising online, via social media and through local TV, radio and newspapers. Every household across Northumberland and North Tyneside will also receive a detailed information booklet which has already started being delivered through people’s doors. All information is also available on www.northumbria.nhs.uk/emergency

The trust has also organised for extensive engagement activity with public drop-in events being held across the trust’s general and community hospitals (main receptions) as follows:

Tuesday, June 2, North Tyneside General Hospital, 11.30am-1.30pm; Thursday, June 4, Alnwick Infirmary, 1.30pm-3.30pm; Friday, June 5, Wansbeck General Hospital, noon-2pm; Monday, June 8, Berwick Infirmary (reception at the minor injury unit) noon-2pm; Tuesday, June 9, Blyth Community Hospital, 11.30am-1.30pm; Friday, June 12, Morpeth NHS Centre, noon-2pm.

Dr Chris Biggin, clinical director for emergency care for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a really important time as we count down towards the opening of our new hospital and the changes that will simultaneously take place at our general hospitals with the introduction of 24-hour walk-in services providing urgent care.

“Our priority in these coming weeks is to make sure everyone knows about the changes taking place at 6am on 16 June and we have invested in a widespread awareness campaign so that people know where to go for help whether they need urgent care or have a serious emergency.

“This is the culmination of over 10 years’ work led by our clinical teams and will mark a historic moment not only for our organisation, our staff and our patients across Northumberland and North Tyneside, but also for the NHS as a whole.

“We will continue to keep everyone updated fully as we near 16 June and will share lots of information during the week that changes are taking place to remind people of the new emergency care arrangements.”