Publish date: 7 November 2022

New procedures unit at the Northumbria provides dedicated space for planned care

A photograph of five nurses.

Patient experience has been boosted by a new unit for planned care at Northumberland’s emergency hospital.

The new Procedures Unit at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH), in Cramlington, opened earlier this year and has already sparked positive feedback from both patients and staff.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s model of care focuses emergency treatment at NSECH, while most planned and elective care and operations take place at the general hospitals – Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck, which also have urgent treatment centres for less serious conditions, such as broken bones, sprains or cuts.

However, some planned procedures do take place at Cramlington and previously this work took place in ambulatory care, which provides same-day emergency care.

The new purpose-built unit means that a range of medical, surgical, orthopaedic, gynaecological and CT scan-guided procedures have now been taken out of the emergency stream, helping to improve capacity and flow in the hospital. Cardiology procedures such as the fitting of pacemakers also take place, freeing up ward space elsewhere.

In addition, the 20-bed unit provides a more relaxed and calmer environment for patients undergoing planned procedures, the majority of which are day cases, away from the hustle and bustle of the hospital’s core emergency work.

This atmosphere has also been welcomed by staff working on the unit, which is nurse-led but supported by expertise from across different specialties.

Matron Jayne Redpath, who is responsible for the new unit, said: “The aim of this development was to make best use of the space we have in the hospital by providing a bespoke unit for planned care and opening up more capacity in ambulatory care and A&E, ultimately with the goal of maintaining high-quality care for all of our patients, whether they are here for emergency treatment or booked appointments.

“So far that has certainly proved to be the case, with the feedback from patients using the units being very positive, thanks to the dedicated, specialist team and a more peaceful environment for waiting and treatment.

“This project has also represented further investment in our staff teams and those working on the unit have welcomed being able to focus on caring for their patients in a dedicated area away from the emergency department and ambulatory care.”

Media contact

Ben O’Connell, media and communications officer, Northumbria Healthcare

Benjamin.O'Connell@northumbria-healthcare.nhs.ukor 07833 046680.