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Final countdown to opening of new Northumbria hospital

Thursday, 11 June, 2015
Final countdown to opening of new Northumbria hospital

With less than a week to go, the final countdown is now on to the opening of England’s first purpose-built dedicated emergency care hospital.

At 6am on Tuesday 16 June, Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital will open its doors to the public and start treating patients from across Northumberland and North Tyneside who are seriously ill or injured. Most patients will arrive by emergency blue light ambulance or emergency GP admission and some people may arrive themselves.

At the same time, changes will take place in emergency care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s general hospitals in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck which will become 24-hour walk-in services providing urgent care for less serious conditions.

The opening of the new Northumbria hospital heralds a new era in emergency care at the trust which is at the forefront of new models of care in the NHS with emergency care consultants on site 24/7. Consultants in a broad range of conditions will also offer services seven days a week, speeding up specialist care for patients to help save more lives and maximise chances of survival and a good recovery for more patients.

A widespread public awareness campaign is currently underway to make sure people know where to go for help whether they need urgent care, or are faced with a serious emergency.

High-profile advertising is taking place across public transport, on large exterior billboard sites, on radio stations, as well as significant awareness-raising online, via social media and through TV, radio and newspapers.

A detailed information booklet is also being sent to every household across Northumberland and North Tyneside.  All information is also available on

Over the last week, drop-in events have taken place at the trust’s hospitals, with the last being held on Friday (12 June) at Morpeth NHS Centre from noon to 2pm.

Dr Chris Biggin, clinical director for emergency care for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “With only a few days left before our new Northumbria hospital opens its doors, it is really important that people know what the changes mean to them and their family.

“We have worked really hard to make sure we spread our message far and wide and people know about our new hospital and the introduction of 24-hour walk-in services providing urgent care at our general hospitals.

“This is the culmination of many years’ work led by our clinicians and as 16 June draws ever closer, we continue to remind people of the changes set to take place as we look forward to our new model of emergency care coming into force.”

The new Northumbria hospital

The first of its kind in the country, Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital will have emergency care consultants working 24 hours a day, seven days a week and specialists in a broad range of conditions on site seven days a week.

Some planned surgery which is considered to be high-risk will also be carried out at the new Northumbria hospital as patients will be surrounded by relevant experts and support services such as critical care which may be needed in an emergency.  

The new Northumbria hospital will have:


–       A state-of-the art emergency department with individual treatment rooms 

–       Diagnostics including x-ray, MRI, ultrasound and CT scanners, endoscopy room and cardiac catheter lab – all located close to the emergency department for quick test results, enabling treatment to start earlier

–       A critical care unit

–       Beds for emergency admissions across seven specialty wards – surgery, trauma, cardiology, respiratory, stroke, gastrointestinal and an acute medical unit

–       A short-stay paediatric unit with paediatric ambulatory care spaces for children who do not need admission overnight

–       Ambulatory care for the rapid assessment of patients with specific conditions, without the need for emergency admission

–       A co-located consultant and midwifery-led birthing centre, with single en-suite rooms which allow partners to stay overnight. It will also have a special care baby unit for those babies needing extra help

–       Operating theatres for emergency/high-risk surgery including a dedicated maternity theatre

Serious emergencies

This new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital will treat serious emergencies such as:


–       Suspected stroke

–       Loss of consciousness

–       Persistent and severe chest pain

–       Sudden shortness of breath

–       Severe abdominal pain

–       Severe blood loss


In these circumstances you should go straight to Cramlington or call 999.


Urgent care

General hospitals will provide 24-hour walk-in services for urgent conditions such as:


–       Minor head, ear or eye problems

–       Broken nose or nose bleed

–       Sprains, strains, cuts and bites

–       Children’s minor injuries and ailments

–       Minor fractures or broken bones

–       Abscesses and wound infections 


In these circumstances, you should go straight to 24-hour walk-in services, contact your GP or call NHS 111 for advice.


Think GP First

Treatment, medical advice and support are widely available from your local NHS. Your GP can treat the majority of healthcare needs and are the first point of contact for most medical problems for you and your family. If you need to know where to go for urgent advice or care you can call NHS 111 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Out-of-hours GP services are also available via 111.