The application is by a partnership between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Assura, a specialist real estate investment trust working only on healthcare premises.
It seeks permission for a an integrated health and education hub on surplus land within the trust’s Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH) site at Cramlington.
A planning statement explains that the three-storey building is likely to accommodate a clinical skills and nursing training centre of excellence; space for potential clinical use by a range of health professionals; and ancillary NHS offices with meeting and conference rooms.
A small drive-through coffee shop is proposed within a separate building to the north on the currently undeveloped plot, which was used as a construction compound while the main hospital was being built.
The scheme also includes a small ‘mini hub’; this reserved area could potentially accommodate a further three-storey building to be used for similar health and education purposes.
There would be two access points from the internal NSECH access road and a total of 291 parking spaces, including disabled bays, while cycle parking is to also be provided.
The statement says: ‘The facilities proposed within the health and training centre are intended primarily to serve medical trainees/students, trust employees and visitors to the wider site, and would add to what is already a site of excellence in patient care.’
Since the hospital opened to the public in 2015, there has been an ongoing series of developments on the site to improve the facilities.
A new £15.6million wing to house an ambulatory care unit – to treat patients who do not need to be admitted – was opened last summer.
Meanwhile, the construction of an £8million centralised sterilisation service department (CSSD) started in May, not long after planning permission was granted.
LOCAThe two-storey, bespoke, carbon-neutral facility, which is due to be completed by early next year, will have the ability to disinfect and sterilise more than half-a-million pieces of medical equipment a year, including trolleys and beds.