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Plans to extend Northumberland’s emergency care hospital

The Northumbria at Cramlington.
The Northumbria at Cramlington.

Plans have been lodged to build an outpatient extension aimed at de-congesting A&E at Northumberland’s emergency care hospital.

A planning application has been submitted to Northumberland County Council for a new ambulatory care (those who need treatment but without admission to a bed) extension to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, in Cramlington.

The extension is expected to reduce length of stay and improve patient experience, while it is designed to allow further bed capacity to be created at a later stage.

A statement submitted as part of the application explains that the ‘dedicated, purpose-designed clinical space for expanded ambulatory functions across medicine, gynaecology, surgery and orthopaedics’ will provide a number of advantages.

It is needed as ‘the flow of ambulatory patients has been compromised for much of the past year by the use of the current area as inpatient accommodation.’

The planning statement says: ‘Integrated working (with inclusion of orthopaedics) will maximise numbers of patients that can be assessed, treated and discharged in daytime hours without requiring an overnight stay.

‘It will de-congest the emergency department, ensuring patients reach the most appropriate clinical service in a timely way, thereby improving performance against the four-hour A&E waiting and ambulance handover targets.’

The new extension will be three storeys like the rest of the building – although only the first floor will be used initially – and will have an external footprint of 2,085m². Its design aims to mimic the current design with its use of white and blue.

The hospital opened in 2015 providing specialist emergency care for seriously ill and injured patients from across Northumberland and North Tyneside.

It is England’s first, purpose-built, specialist emergency care hospital, with emergency consultants on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as consultants in a range of specialisms.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service