Campaign focused on service delivery

Campaigners have reiterated calls for Berwick's new hospital to have more services than the current offer.

Thursday, 13th December 2018, 07:25 am
A Better Hospital for Berwick.

The campaign group, ABetter Hospital For Berwick, has welcomed Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust’s latest update, particularly its review of services hosted at Berwick Infirmary and its pledge to deliver more appointments there.

“It suggests that’s not been happening,” said a campaign spokesman.

“Well, that much is clear from all the stories people have been sharing; shocking stories of needless suffering imposed by having to travel too far for services Berwick should obviously already have.

“So it’s good to know the trust will respond to ‘justified concerns around Berwick residents making journeys to our other sites’. But is this only about ‘appointments which should be held at the current Berwick Infirmary site’? If it’s not happening in Berwick Infirmary now, does that mean it won’t happen in the new hospital? Are you still going to have to get yourself down the road for everything else?”

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Their concern is that the trust will deliver the same service levels as at present but in a new building.

“If we’re already being sent elsewhere for appointments which should be happening locally, then that means ‘assessment of current utilisation’ is already giving a falsely low impression of what Berwick needs. That means you can’t use those figures to predict future demand, either,” say campaigners. “You need to start again and look at referral rates: who is being sent where, how far, why, and what for? If there are enough people needing a service which would be more readily accessible to them in Berwick than in any other location, the new hospital plans should include that service.”