Spring start for new Berwick hospital construction works

Construction work on Berwick’s long-awaited new hospital is set to start in the spring, the project leader has confirmed.

By Andrew Coulson
Monday, 27th December 2021, 1:05 pm
Updated Monday, 27th December 2021, 1:59 pm
A recent aerial image showing demolition works at the Berwick Infirmary site.
A recent aerial image showing demolition works at the Berwick Infirmary site.

The original timetable had to be put back earlier this year, although Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said at the time that it was not all bad news because the delay was down to “fascinating” archaeological finds dating back more than 900 years.

And Marion Dickson, who is also the trust's executive director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals, has said she is pleased with how things have been going since the hospital works programme resumed in June.

In addition, she is calling on residents to help the NHS over the winter period, with advice on Covid jabs and using services appropriate to their condition.

Children from Holy Trinity First School in Berwick with Christmas cards they designed for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to go to patients at the local hospital. Picture by Richard Rayner.

The new purpose-built hospital will replace the current infirmary, which is no longer suitable for the efficient delivery of modern-day healthcare.

Mrs Dickson said: “We're excited for the year ahead. This project is a huge opportunity, which we're grasping with both hands, and I'm sure the Berwick community will also be looking forward to it – with construction set to begin in the spring.

“As for where things are at the end of 2021, the demolition work is going well and people can look out for the building that was the energy centre being demolished by the end of January.

“We're about halfway through the archaeological work and we've been delighted to share the fascinating discoveries.

“One of the most recent discoveries was a well from around the 1820s at Brucegate, which is believed to be linked to the former poor house.

“With everything relating to the project, including temporary arrangements, and working through the Covid pandemic, we couldn’t have asked any more of our staff.

“They have gone above and beyond time and time again.

“Our patients have been very understanding and the residents of Berwick have also been very supportive during this difficult period.

“We are offering a few more clinics at the infirmary now, with more to come. We will continue to provide regular updates as the project progresses.”

To protect those with underlying health conditions and a weakened immune system as particular buildings at the site were being demolished, inpatients temporarily received care at other Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust hospitals or at the La Cura House care home in Berwick, provided by trust staff.

Inpatients were welcomed back onto the ward last month.

As for her winter health message, Mrs Dickson said: “To help protect the NHS, getting your Covid booster, or first or second vaccine jab, is vitally important – as is wearing a face mask in the appropriate places, good hand hygiene and getting the flu jab.

“Also, given that we are under an extraordinary amount of pressure at the moment, please use the most appropriate form of healthcare service for your condition.

“Think pharmacy, GP and 111 first.”