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Thousands of patients benefit from seven-day services during first month of The Northumbria

Thursday, 16 July, 2015
Thousands of patients benefit from seven-day services during first month of The Northumbria

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has today named Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust as an NHS organisation providing the very best standard of seven-day services for its patients in the North East.

Exactly one month on from the opening of England’s first dedicated emergency care hospital, thousands of patients have benefitted from the new model of emergency care now in place across Northumberland and North Tyneside.

Since the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital opened its doors to patients on Tuesday 16 June, over 6,500 patients have been treated in the new state-of-the-art emergency department, benefitting from the expertise of a senior emergency medicine consultant presence 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Specialist consultants in a range of conditions also provide care seven days a week in the new Northumbria hospital with full access to diagnostics tests and scans round the clock to speed up care for patients, maximising chances of survival and a good recovery and helping to save more lives.  Over 6,800 diagnostic tests and scans including MRI, CT, x-ray and ultrasound have taken place in the first month.  All high-risk and emergency surgery now also takes place at The Northumbria with over 530 operations performed in the last month alone.

The news comes as Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt today named Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in a speech about seven-day working in the NHS as a standard to which other NHS trusts across the country should aspire towards. 

89-year-old grandmother Connie Brown from Mitford, near Morpeth, was one of the very first patients to benefit from the consultant-led care at the Northumbria.  She arrived at the new hospital by emergency ambulance shortly after it opened on 16 June. Her family had called NHS 111 as she was suffering a severe pain in her side and an ambulance was immediately sent to her home.

Connie, who has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), was quickly assessed in the emergency department, had diagnostic tests and then moved to one of the speciality wards for treatment for both pneumonia and pleurisy.  She stayed in the Northumbria until the next day when she was well enough to be transferred to Wansbeck General Hospital so she could be nearer her family for ongoing care.

Connie said: “I’m a great believer in giving praise when praise is due and I was treated exceptionally well. The care was first-class and I cannot fault it at all.

“I was cared for on a beautiful ward with all en-suite facilities, I would go as far to say that I was treated like royalty. The doctor who saw me had an exceptional bedside manner and explained everything. I wasn’t left on my own at all and there were lots of doctors and nurses around if I needed anything.”

Connie’s daughter-in-law Sharon Brown, who was with her when she was admitted, was also impressed with the care and the hospital.  “It was a worrying situation, however, Connie was treated so well and I was kept informed the whole way through,” she said. “I was told what was happening and what was going to happen next which was really reassuring.”

Most patients, like Connie, arrive at the Northumbria by emergency ambulance or emergency GP admission and some people may arrive themselves.  Patients are seen quickly by an expert with senior clinical decision making upon arrival and quick access to tests and scans so that treatment can start sooner.  It has state-of-the-art operating theatres for emergency and high-risk surgery and beds for emergency admissions across seven specialty wards.

Since the Northumbria opened on 16 June, over 6,300 patients (around half of total emergency patients across the trust) have continued to access urgent care by using 24-hour walk-in services at Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals for less serious conditions, benefitting from a quick and speedy service from expert local teams. 

Dr Eliot Sykes, consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care who works in the state-of-the-art critical care unit at The Northumbria, said: “Connie’s experience is exactly what our new model of emergency care is all about and it is fantastic to hear such positive feedback.

“We know that providing access to specialist consultant-led care seven days a week can have a profound impact on patient outcomes and the opening of the Northumbria means we can now offer this consistent level of expert care for our patients and save more lives.”

The opening of the Northumbria has also seen the arrival of 215 babies at the new Birthing Centre which provides consultant-led care and midwifery-led care under the same roof.

Northumbria’s highly-experienced midwifery team is on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the new Birthing Centre with a consultant obstetrician also available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for those women with high-risk pregnancies, unexpected complications, or who experience difficulties during labour.  Pregnant women are now able to book at the new Birthing Centre @ Northumbria by calling 0191 6072018.