Health trust's £326m package to improve facilities

Major funding to help build on the high level of care already being provided to communities across Northumberland and North Tyneside has been outlined by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital site in Cramlington, with the new Northumbria Sterile Processing Centre in the foreground.
The Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital site in Cramlington, with the new Northumbria Sterile Processing Centre in the foreground.

The £326million investment package will improve facilities for both patients and staff and it will be invested throughout the trust’s patch, also helping to increase capacity.

The general hospitals will be a major focus of its estates masterplan being rolled out over the next five years, with the first phase of upgrade work having already started at Wansbeck (Ashington) and North Tyneside.

A number of wards are being refurbished to improve facilities and the environment for staff and patients.

The package also includes the £30million new hospital in Berwick project – providing a fit-for-the-21st-century facility – and the trust has said “work is progressing well”.

The general hospitals are all centres of surgical excellence and were able to continue elective and non-urgent operations during the pandemic, due to the trust’s set-up with the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH) in Cramlington, built in 2015, acting as the designated Covid hub.

At the NSECH site, an £8million new centralised facility for sterilising medical equipment has recently been completed – while the trust’s proposed scheme for a £25million health and education hub is going through the planning process.

Sir James Mackey, Northumbria Healthcare’s chief executive, said: “The continuing high level of patient care provided to our patients, despite the unprecedented pressures since March 2020, is of course down to the incredible efforts of our staff, who constantly have patients’ best interests at heart despite the ever-mounting pressure on the NHS.

“However, to do their jobs to the best of their ability and to ensure patients have the best experience possible, we need to ensure our hospitals and other sites, as well as the facilities within them, match the aspirations we have for our healthcare provision.

“At the same time, we are improving the facilities for our staff because their well-being is absolutely vital to the smooth running of the organisation.

“Our people have to be looked after, as great staff experience leads to great patient experience – and that has been a driver of our strategy for many years.”