Health bosses working on timeline for new Berwick hospital
Health bosses hope to reveal a timeline for the development of the new £25million hospital in Berwick by the end of the year.
Progress on the new facility was announced last autumn, but sparked a backlash as residents opposed it sharing a site with the new leisure centre.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), backed down on the co-location proposals and in May announced that the new stand-alone hospital would be built on the current infirmary site – something which had previously been ruled out.
An update to Tuesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing committee reaffirmed that the trust has committed to providing all current services, plus incorporating more where safe to do so, as well as reducing the need to travel for minor or routine appointments.
In July, it was announced that the new hospital will include an endoscopy suite, a service that had removed several years ago. However, at the meeting, Marion Dickson, the trust’s director of nursing, said that some patients will still have to travel to other sites.
The report to councillors added that the “design of the new hospital will focus on flexibility, embracing new technology and be future-proofed to provide a first-class health facility for the people of Berwick”.
Ms Dickson said: “We want to get things sorted by the end of the calendar year. Sir James Mackey, our chief executive, is keen we mobilise as quickly as possible.”
After the meeting, Coun Catherine Seymour, who represents Berwick North, said: “I was relieved to hear that the trust and CCG in their update on the new Berwick Hospital have listened and reflected on the local views of the community. They are now trying much harder to increase services and have better communications and this is welcomed.
“Now we need to get on with this new build on the existing site, as it has been too long in the waiting since 2013 when we first secured funding and saw plans for our new hospital in Berwick.”