Hospital criticism refuted

TOP doctors have backed a proposed specialist emergency care hospital for patients in Northumberland and North Tyneside in response to a letter from a neighbouring NHS trust questioning the need for the new facility.

The Gazette received a letter signed by 71 health professionals from the council of governors of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust criticising the development and claiming it is a waste of public money.

But experienced clinicians at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have said the planned state-of-the-art hospital – the first of its kind in the country – will save lives and significantly improve care and said three-quarters of those who responded to a public consultation two years ago were in favour of the plans.

The development is proposed to be built alongside the A189 south of East Cramlington and will be staffed by experienced medical professionals who specialise in the treatment of a specific condition or injury. And it is planned that it will only treat patients who receive treatment at the Trusts existing hospitals – Wansbeck, North Tyneside and Hexham – as no others could cope with the demand for emergency care from these locations.

Sir Miles Irving, a former professor of surgery, who lives in rural Northumberland, said: “The proposed emergency hospital, which will bring under one roof the up-to-150 acute admissions a day currently dealt with by Northumbria Trust, will form a vital part of the network of care north of the Tyne and avoid the current situation whereby such acute admissions are distributed among the existing district hospitals in Northumberland.”

The specialist emergency care hospital, if granted planning permission by Northumberland County Council, is part of the Trust’s plans to invest £200million to improve health and social care in Northumberland and North Tyneside over the next 10 years.

l The letter in full – Page 10