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NHS chief returns to region to see progress on pioneering new Northumbria hospital

Thursday, 05 March, 2015
NHS chief returns to region to see progress on pioneering new Northumbria hospital

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director of NHS England, has visited the region today to see first-hand the progress being made on the pioneering new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital which will open this summer in Cramlington.

The chief doctor of the NHS was given a tour of the state-of-the-art building – the first purpose-built hospital of its kind in England dedicated to emergency care and met some of the doctors and nurses who have been involved in the design.

From June 2015, the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, which recently featured on BBC1’s The One Show, will have 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 in order to maximise chances of survival and a good recovery.

Northumbria Healthcare staff have worked alongside architects throughout the project to ensure patients’ needs are central to the design of the new Northumbria hospital and when Sir Bruce was guest of honour at the topping out ceremony just over a year ago, he described it as “a glimpse of the future”. 

When the new hospital opens, seriously ill or injured patients from across Northumberland and North Tyneside will arrive by emergency blue light ambulance or will be referred by their GP.  Senior decision making on arrival and fast access to diagnostics located close to the ‘emergency department hub’ will ensure speedy test results allowing specialists to start treatment earlier, improving outcomes and recovery.

It is part of an innovative new model of emergency care which will help save more lives and improve clinical outcomes for more patients across Northumberland and North Tyneside.

The new model at Northumbria is in line with the vision recently outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View to develop networks of linked hospitals that ensure patients with the most serious needs get to specialist emergency centres, and that hospital patients have access to seven day services where this makes a difference to outcomes.

The approach has been endorsed by Sir Bruce who, as part of his Urgent and Emergency Care Review, is calling for “patients to receive the right treatment at the right place”, with consistent levels of senior staffing in order to maximise chances of survival and a good recovery for patients.

Separating emergency care from planned care will also benefit patients at Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals.   They will become centres of excellence for planned operations and all outpatient clinics and planned diagnostics will take place there. 

Urgent care 24 hour walk-in services at Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals will also continue to treat patients with less serious conditions, and patients will be seen quicker as a result of serious emergencies being treated at the new Northumbria hospital.

Sir Bruce explained: “This is all about ensuring patients with complicated needs or life threatening conditions get to a centre with the appropriate expertise in place. It is fantastic to be back in the region today to visit the new Northumbria hospital which is at the forefront of future emergency medicine.

“The challenges facing A&E services across the country are immense and our vision for the NHS is very much in line with what Northumbria Healthcare have already been developing with the opening of the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital to look after those with serious, life threatening emergencies.

“It is testament to the clinical teams at Northumbria, who began thinking about their new model of emergency care many years ago, that the North East is now well ahead of other parts of the NHS in making the national vision for urgent and emergency care, a reality for patients.”

Mr David Evans, medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said:  “The evidence is clear that seeing the right specialist for your condition quickly when you are seriously ill or injured greatly improves chances of survival and results in better clinical outcomes for patients, regardless of journey times.

“We are very proud that our teams are ahead of the rest of the NHS in developing a new model of emergency care which has been ten years in the making, will be clinically best for patients and also resilient for the future.

“While our new hospital will treat seriously ill or injured patients from across Northumberland and North Tyneside, people with less serious conditions will continue to receive urgent care at 24 hour walk-in services at our general hospitals in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck.  We also expect these walk-in patients will be seen more quickly in the future as staff will not be distracted or called away to treat more serious cases.”


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