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Health and Education Centre of Excellence Given the Green Light

Thursday, 16 December, 2021

Planning permission has been granted for a £32 million health and education centre of excellence in Northumberland.

The Northumbria Health and Care Academy, which will be run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, will be located on the site of its emergency care hospital in Cramlington.


The trust is working in partnership with developer, Assura plc, and planning and development consultants, Lichfields, on this innovative and pioneering project, which will benefit patients, staff, local communities and the wider economy.


The 8,000 square metre development will accommodate a training centre of excellence, clinical space, conference facilities, office space and meeting rooms. A drive-through coffee shop and wellbeing walking trail are also included in the ambitious plans.


The clinical skills centre of excellence, which will focus initially on nursing, midwifery and allied health professional training, is a clear commitment from Northumbria Healthcare to enable and encourage its staff to access the learning and development they need, as quickly and as conveniently as possible, to continue to provide the highest quality of care to patients.


It also demonstrates the importance it places on striving for excellence, recruiting and retaining the best talent, staff being able to grow both professionally and personally, and for staff to progress in their careers.


Northumbria Healthcare will provide a range of training opportunities via its academy which will enable someone to join the trust as an apprentice and progress to director level, for example. Initially training will be open to trust staff and then hopefully to those from other healthcare organisations. This provision will be in addition to the current education offer and placements offered by Northumbria Healthcare and the intention is for online learning to also be available.


Sir James Mackey, CEO of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am delighted that we have been granted planning permission for a project which is going to focus on and enable excellence in relation to development and education of our staff and the care we give our patients. This good news is very welcome at a time when my colleagues and those living in the local communities we serve, and across our region and country, continue to cope with the challenges presented by Covid-19. It also truly demonstrates our commitment to being national and local leaders in the provision of healthcare, to being socially responsible in how we support our local communities and to always push the boundaries in terms of what we can achieve.”


The trust is currently going through the process of securing a partnership with a university to be able to deliver university accredited courses as part of the education programme. The university will also validate elements of the education programme, award qualifications and support with course content.


Marion Dickson, Northumbria Healthcare’s executive director for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals, said: “Our academy is going to be such a valuable addition to our trust. I have had the opportunity to progress to my current role, so I am very passionate about colleagues being able to access the training and education they need to progress in a career which is so rewarding. Our nurses, midwives and allied health care professionals all do an incredibly important job and to be able to be at the forefront of educating these colleagues is really very special indeed. The academy will also have wider staff, social and economic benefits, so it is fantastic that we have the green light to progress. I look forward to working with many partners going forward and thank all involved for getting us to this point.”


It is hoped that work to construct the Northumbria Health and Care Academy will begin in spring 2022 and will take around 18 months to build.


Jonathan Murphy, CEO of Assura, said: “This is such an exciting scheme to be working on as a centre of excellence in the region, creating a home for training of both the current and next generation of healthcare staff, including nurses, midwives and allied health professionals. This hub will be a key connection point between this busy working hospital and the learning and development which will build the future of care, and we look forward to moving the project to site.”


The hospital trust, along with the developer, has committed to ensuring everyone is informed and kept up-to-date with progress. For further information, log onto


For further information contact:, Northumbria Healthcare Trust, on 07812 389 963, Assura plc, on 07856 775 495