Ground-breaking hospital role for Duchess

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THE Duchess of Northumberland has opened a new specialist palliative care unit at Wansbeck General Hospital and carried out a ground-breaking ceremony on the site of the new emergency care hospital at East Cramlington.

The hospital at Cramlington will be the first in the country to have specialists available to see and treat the most seriously ill or injured patients. Medical evidence says that speedy access to specialists saves lives and results in improved outcomes for these vulnerable patients. Once patients are on the road to recovery they will be transferred back to their local hospital to be cared for closer to home.

The new hospital will have a state-of-the-art A & E department, admission and in-patient wards, hi-tech diagnostics and critical care as well as a short-stay paediatric facility and consultant-led maternity unit.

Jim Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare, said: “This will improve healthcare for the 500,000 people of North Tyneside and Northumberland giving them access to some of the best emergency care in this country and internationally.

“I am immensely proud of our clinical teams who have worked hard to improve the way we deliver emergency care, they have taken ideas from home and abroad to provide quality care in a modern setting for the first time in this country.”

Work will begin shortly on the new building which will take two years to build.

The new specialist palliative care unit at Wansbeck General Hospital provides specialist care for patients suffering life limiting illnesses and who may be nearing the end of life.

It means for the first time, specialist palliative care doctors and nurses at Wansbeck will be working in a dedicated facility to improve quality of life for patients living with a life limiting illness. Patients will be admitted to improve difficult symptom problems, complex psychosocial issues or because they are approaching the end of life and would prefer to be in a specialist palliative care setting.

The new inpatient unit works alongside existing community palliative care teams and means patients can get home quickly thanks to a rapid discharge service. Equally, patients can be admitted directly to the unit, by passing an unnecessary admission via A&E.

In addition to the new specialist palliative care unit, families can also use the dedicated Oasis Suite to stay close to loved ones at the end of life – particularly beneficial for family members who may live further away.

Dr Paul Paes, head of the palliative care service at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Providing the right care, support and dignity at the end of life is crucially important for each and every patient, not only for the individual person but also for the family left behind.”

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