Preparations for new Berwick hospital take major step forward
Major steps are being taken at Berwick Infirmary to prepare for the town’s new multi-million-pound hospital.
Departments are being moved within the infirmary with patient appointments taking place in alternative locations to pave the way for the new build which will re-provide all the existing services and embrace the latest technology.
People with an appointment at the infirmary are being advised to attend as normal however report to the reception within medical records to be redirected to their waiting area. Signage is being put in place and people are urged to allow a little extra time.
Hoardings will soon be put up on site and the winners of a photography competition for images for these have been chosen.
Alongside this work, positive discussions are taking place with planners to progress the proposals which will be shared with the public as soon as possible.
Marion Dickson, executive director for nursing, midwifery, allied health professionals, surgery and community services at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, is leading the Berwick redevelopment project.
She said: “These are major steps forward for our plans for a new hospital in Berwick and a necessary part of preparing the site for the new build.
“We’ve always said that constructing a new hospital on the site of the existing infirmary will be complex and involve a lot of planning however it’s great news that we’re well under way with these preparations.
“Anyone coming to Berwick Infirmary as a patient or a visitor will notice some changes and we’d appeal to people to please bear with us during this time.
“While we will try our best to minimise disruption as much as possible, inevitably there will be some inconvenience caused and we’d like to apologise to patients in advance.”
As part of the preparations, the physiotherapy department has relocated to maternity and outpatient and day hospital clinics will be taking place elsewhere in the hospital.
The main entrance, in time, will not be in use and the public are urged to use the entrance next to the minor injuries unit in preparation.
For a period, oral surgery will be relocated to Alnwick Infirmary however patients’ initial appointments will still take place in Berwick. Patients will be informed and transport will be provided if necessary.
Marion added: “While we will try our utmost to retain as many services as possible at Berwick during the preparations for, and building of, the new hospital, there will be some services due to the equipment and environment needed – as is the case with oral surgery – that will need to relocate for a defined period.
“We can assure the community that these services will return to the town when the new hospital opens.”
Towards the end of last year, the trust invited people to submit their photos of Berwick and local landscapes and coastline to be showcased on contractors’ display boards.
The ten winning images have been chosen and these are by Raymond Johnston (two), Alan Forrest (two), Gavin Graham, Allan Brown, Kevin Blair, Jane Garrick, Alan Hughes and Paul Bullock.
Brenda Longstaff, head of arts for the patient environment at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We were really pleased with the response we had to our competition with scores of local people submitting excellent images.
“It was a tough job deciding the winners and we’d like to thank everyone who took part.
“We look forward to seeing the photos adorn the hoardings and brightening up the site during construction which will signal another important stage in our plans for a new hospital.”
Jaclyn Curry – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
0191 203 1654 / 07833 046680