Inpatients back at Berwick Infirmary after temporary move during demolition work

Inpatients are again being welcomed onto the ward at Berwick Infirmary, as the £30million project to construct a new state-of-the-art hospital continues.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 9:06 am
Updated Thursday, 4th November 2021, 12:24 pm
Berwick Infirmary. Picture by Jane Coltman

Work to demolish older parts of the infirmary started in the summer and required a temporary halt to patients staying overnight on the ward.

This was due to concerns about the 19th century buildings being demolished potentially containing aspergillus, a mould that can affect those with underlying health conditions and a weakened immune system.

As a result, patients have been receiving care at other Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust hospitals or La Cura House care home in Berwick, provided by Trust staff, in recent months.

An artist's impression of the new Berwick Infirmary.

Oncology and some ambulatory care services were also temporarily relocated, but will return in the next few weeks.

All minor injury unit (MIU), maternity and other outpatient department services have remained at Berwick throughout.

Marion Dickson, Northumbria Healthcare’s executive director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals, as well as project lead for the new hospital, said: “We fully appreciate that this was not an ideal situation for patients and thank them for bearing with us during an unavoidable period on the road to providing Berwick with a modern and fit-for-purpose hospital for the future.

“I would also like to express my gratitude to all of the staff who have worked so hard during this disruption to continue to provide the high-quality care that our residents deserve and have come to expect from the Trust and Berwick Infirmary.

Archaeologists at work on the Berwick Infirmary site.

“The safety of patients is always our primary concern, so we reluctantly had to make this decision to close the inpatient ward for a time, but we are delighted that residents of Berwick and the surrounding areas once again have access to this facility at the heart of their community.”

Meanwhile, the archaeological dig on the infirmary site continues to turn up fascinating discoveries, some dating back to 1100 AD.

The excavation, by Northern Archaeological Associates, has now moved onto a western section near the Brucegate entrance, and has resulted in a further two wells being discovered, one dating to the 15th or 16th century where a number of nearly complete shoes were found and the other from the 19th century which is thought to be linked to the former poor house immediately opposite.

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