£25m loan agreed for new hospital

Berwick Infirmary.

Berwick Infirmary.

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A new hospital for Berwick has moved one step closer after Northumberland County Council approved a £25million loan to build the facility.

The county council agreed to lend Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust the money to rebuild the infirmary at a joint board meeting held in Berwick on Wednesday.

The new state-of-the-art hospital will bring health and social care together, providing better overall care to patients. GPs may also work from the new hospital site.

Northumberland County Councillor and chair of Northumberland’s Health and Wellbeing Board, Scott Dickinson, said: “This announcement is excellent news for people in Berwick, for the local economy and for the NHS. The loan will allow Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to cut their overall borrowing costs and focus their cash where it’s needed most - in front line healthcare.”

He added: “Northumbria Healthcare made a very clear commitment to the people of Berwick to provide a fit-for-purpose, 21st century healthcare facility and has been working hard to make this happen for many years now. We are pleased we can help accelerate this project.”

Jim Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said the development had been much anticipated by the trust’s staff and patients for some time, and could now “move forward with real pace” to provide a 21st century healthcare facility which will benefit local communities for many years to come.

“Our teams in Berwick will have a vital role to play working with architects to design the new hospital, discussing the logistics of a phased build and making sure we provide the very best environment and experience for our patients in the future,” Mr Mackey said.

The trust announced its intention to rebuild Berwick Infirmary at the existing town centre site, Infirmary Square, at the end of last year.

A series of public engagement events will be planned in the year ahead to share the design plans for the new hospital, before a detailed planning application can be submitted.

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