Campaigners stress need for services in new hospital

Around 175 people packed into Berwick town hall on Wednesday night for a public meeting about plans for a new hospital.

Thursday, 4th October 2018, 17:11 pm
Updated Friday, 5th October 2018, 01:34 am
Berwick town hall was packed for a public meeting about plans for a new hospital.

It was the latest show of support for campaign group, A Better Hospital for Berwick, which organised the event.

A formal committee has now been formed and it received the backing of those in attendance to carry on with its bid to ensure a new hospital is fit-for-purpose with the services the town needs.

An online petition started by Edward Frank which calls for a better hospital for Berwick now has 1,920 signatures.

Another started by Alex Gibson asking people to identify their preferred site for the new hospital has over 2,600 signatures.

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Of these, 1,513 prefer the current infirmary site, 887 would like to see it built at Seton Hall with 97 for the Swan Centre, now ruled out by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust.

“They are listening,” Coun Georgina Hill, county councillor for Berwick East, told the meeting. “It’s been a brilliant mobilisation of the public and news of this separate site is the first step.”

She backed calls for adequate services to be delivered in the new hospital, saying the 16 beds proposed was more akin to a B&B.

She also welcomed the potential for more care facilities to be provided on a standalone site, expressing her own preference for Seton Hall.

Gordon McLean, a campaign committee member, bemoaned the loss of services at the hospital in recent years.

“It’s sad that the public - and staff - have had to bear the brunt of that,” he said.

He said services were vital to serve the town’s ageing population.

“We will turn over every stone to get the services we need,” he said.