Alan Castle: Here’s a a better idea

IF you believe everything you read in the press (and you should do because it is nearly always right) Alnwick Infirmary it appears, at certain times of the night, to be just an after-care hospital.

If a child with blood flowing from its head can’t be treated what hope then of someone with a serious injury?

It also has visits from specialists from Newcastle and Wansbeck, but if you take seriously ill, have a major accident, then, my friend, it is down the unpredictable A1 for you.

If you happen to have an accident when thousands are returning home to Newcastle, then it could be the end for you if requiring very urgent specialist treatment despite the heroic work and driving of ambulance crews.

Last bank holiday, traffic was stuck in two lanes at the end of the Felton bypass back to the northern entrance to the village. From there south to Morpeth, it was stop start due to the volume of traffic.

If you are seriously ill or injured, according to proposed plans, you will not be taken to Wansbeck but even further south to the Moorhouse roundabout at Cramlington where it is proposed to build a new multi-million accident and emergency department.

This column has spoken out previously against such a development. Now it appears it has been joined by 71 North East consultants and medical professionals, who point out that if you go just a further eight miles there are excellent facilities at the RVI.

The argument, as usual, has been that to build one at Cramlington, they would obviously do away with the existing ones at Wansbeck and North Tyneside. But that is little comfort to those of us who live in the far north of the county.

Surely, as the health professionals argue, it would be better to take those patients a further eight miles from the planned site and save what will be a small fortune in building what in fact would be a replica of facilities that already exist.

For those residents in Blyth, Wansbeck or the rural north of the county, surely Morpeth would have been a better location.

Would the huge area that appears to be vacant land at St George’s Hospital, on the northern outskirts of Morpeth, not make an admirable site?

It may also put pressure on other government ministers to give the go-ahead and get cracking with dualling the A1 from Morpeth north to Berwick.

The county council has been for years taking of a new road to the A1 from the Wansbeck area. Put the two together and you have an ideal plan.