Revolutionary Northumberland hospital moves step closer to opening

Matron Ian Joy, front, shows staff around the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital. Left to right, Nicky Oliver, Rachel Marshall, David Ferry and Jane Robinson.

Matron Ian Joy, front, shows staff around the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital. Left to right, Nicky Oliver, Rachel Marshall, David Ferry and Jane Robinson.

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A new hospital in Northumberland, which is the first of its kind in the country dedicated to providing emergency care, has moved a step closer to opening.

Construction of the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, which has generated scores of jobs and investment in the region over the two-year build, has now been completed and handed over to Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The hospital is on track to open in June and the Trust is now preparing the building to welcome patients and staff by installing and testing equipment, and carrying out a series of staff training and induction sessions.

The state-of-the-art development is the first purpose-built hospital of its kind in England dedicated to emergency care with emergency-care consultants on site 24/7. Consultants in a broad range of conditions will also offer services seven days a week, speeding up specialist care for patients in order to maximise chances of survival and a good recovery.

When the new hospital opens, seriously ill or injured patients from across Northumberland and North Tyneside will arrive by emergency blue-light ambulance, be referred by their GP or arrive themselves. Senior decision-making on arrival and fast access to diagnostics located close to the ‘emergency department hub’ will ensure speedy test results allowing specialists to start treatment earlier, improving outcomes and recovery.

It is part of Northumbria Healthcare’s innovative new model of emergency care which will help save more lives and improve clinical outcomes for more patients across Northumberland and North Tyneside.

Urgent care 24-hour walk-in services at Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals will also continue to treat patients with less serious conditions, and patients will be seen quicker as a result of serious emergencies being treated at the new Northumbria hospital.

Dr Chris Biggin, emergency medicine consultant and clinical director for emergency care at the Trust, said: “This is a major step forward for our new specialist emergency care hospital and heralds the final stage of development before we open the doors to patients in June. It is excellent that after 10 years of planning, and two years of construction, that we are able to start kitting out the building with everything we need to be able to deliver the highest-quality of emergency care to our patients.

“It is also really exciting that our clinical teams, who were heavily involved in the design of their own area, are now going into the hospital and seeing first-hand where they’ll be working.”

Nurse Jane Robinson was part of the team who visited the new hospital this week. Jane will be working in emergency care and the specialist wards in her role as a night nurse practitioner.

She said: “It was fantastic to be able to visit the new hospital and see where I’ll be working from June. I was really impressed with everything about the new building but particularly the layout and how all the departments are interlinked to aid patient flow.

“I was already looking forward to moving to the new hospital and being part of a new model of emergency care in Northumberland and North Tyneside, however, after seeing inside, I can’t wait to get started.”

A widespread public-awareness campaign is currently underway to ensure people across Northumberland and North Tyneside understand the changes taking place in emergency care and where to go for treatment. Visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk/emergency for more information and to hear from the doctors and nurses behind the changes.