Plans for new Northumberland medical facility near hospital site

The Northumbria Hospital at Cramlington.The Northumbria Hospital at Cramlington.
The Northumbria Hospital at Cramlington.
Plans have been lodged for a new sterilisation facility to serve the hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

An application has been submitted to Northumberland County Council for a purpose-built building to provide a Centralised Sterilisation Service Department (CSSD) for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, next to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH) at Cramlington.

The application explains that the sterilisation service department disinfects, inspects and sterilises equipment and devices that have been used during surgical and medical procedures from across the trust.

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Its work is currently delivered from two separate but jointly managed departments on the North Tyneside and Wansbeck Hospital sites.

A planning statement says: ‘There is an urgent need for a new facility to replace the existing units due to the existing units being significantly ageing and frequently malfunctioning, which compromises delivery and efficiency delivery and efficiency of the service.

‘There is a significant risk that the decontamination equipment is at risk of catastrophic failure which is documented as a very high risk on the NHS Foundation Trust business unit risk registers.’

In terms of the location of the new unit, an assessment concluded that the NSECH site was the best for a centralised service for two key reasons, with one being that it is the best location for access from all of the trust’s sites.

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The other is that because it is the emergency site, it ‘has the most unpredictable demand on the service and requires rapid turnaround and delivery of equipment to support the emergency theatres. The other hospital sites deliver elective work and, as such, turnaround of equipment can be planned’.

The two-storey, bespoke building would include rest areas and changing facilities for staff and would be served by a 35-space car park, including two disabled bays, and two drop-off lay-bys for deliveries and collections.

Its location has been chosen so that the existing pedestrian and road links at the hospital are used as much as possible.

The planning statement adds there is a ‘clear, pressing and urgent operational need for the development and the site in question would allow this to be provided in the most efficient manner possible’.