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Patient care at the heart of Northumbria Healthcare’s £326m investment plans

Thursday, 09 December, 2021
Patient care at the heart of Northumbria Healthcare’s £326m investment plans

A huge £326million investment package has been outlined by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, driven by its unrelenting focus on high-quality patient care.

The funding will be invested throughout the Trust’s patch, across 2,500 square miles in Northumberland and North Tyneside, improving facilities for patients and staff and increasing capacity to build on the already outstanding care provided to communities, keeping waiting lists to a minimum.

The general hospitals will be a major focus of this significant estates masterplan being rolled out over the next five years, with the first phase of upgrade work having already started at Wansbeck (Ashington) and North Tyneside. A number of wards are being refurbished to improve facilities and the environment for both staff and patients, not least through the creation of additional single rooms/bays and en-suites.

Meanwhile, at Hexham, £15million will be invested in state-of-the-art new purpose-built endoscopy and maternity units and an expansion of the theatres department to build on Northumbria Healthcare’s model, including a concerted use of day case surgery, which has allowed the trust to perform among the very top nationally for both emergency and elective care. Its location in the west of the county means that it serves a wide rural area.

The three hospitals are all centres of surgical excellence and were able to continue elective and non-urgent operations during the pandemic, due to the Trust’s set-up with the pioneering Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH) in Cramlington, built in 2015, acting as the designated Covid hub.

At the NSECH site, an £8million new centralised facility for sterilising medical equipment at the Northumbria site has recently been completed, while the Trust’s proposed development of a £25million health and education hub is currently going through the planning process.

In addition, work is progressing well on a £30million new hospital in Berwick – providing a fit-for-the-21st-century facility for another large rural area – with construction hoped to start in spring next year.

Sir James Mackey, Northumbria Healthcare’s chief executive, said: “The continuing high level of patient care provided to our patients, despite the unprecedented pressures since March 2020, is of course down to the incredible efforts of our staff, who constantly have patients’ best interests at heart despite the ever-mounting pressure on the NHS.

“However, to do their jobs to the best of their ability and to ensure patients have the best experience possible, we need to ensure our hospitals and other sites, as well as the facilities within them, match the aspirations we have for our healthcare provision.

“At the same time, we are improving the facilities for our staff, because their wellbeing is absolutely vital to the smooth running of the organisation. Our people have to be looked after, as great staff experience leads to great patient experience and that has been a driver of our strategy for many years.

“I am delighted to be able to unveil this major investment programme, which is a result of careful planning based on clinical need, shrewd financial management and the can-do attitude of the entire Northumbria team.”

The Northumbria Sterile Processing Centre was a net-zero development in terms of carbon emissions and the same will be the case for the new hospital at Berwick, while both projects have involved local and regional contractors and suppliers.

This is in line with the commitments set out through the Trust’s Community Promise to make a difference to our communities in as many ways as possible, with economy, employment and environment being three of the six key pillars.

Beyond buildings and facilities, Northumbria Healthcare remains focused on innovation, so investment continues to be made in the latest technology and equipment to ensure that patients receive the best care and experience possible. This includes a number of departments introducing artificial intelligence or robotic systems to support the work of clinicians.

Media contact

Ben O’Connell, media and communications officer

Benjamin.O’ or 07833 046680.