Even less clinical space

The current Berwick Infirmary site has a footprint of roughly 8,000 square metres. The footprint proposed for the new hospital is only half that at about 4,000 square metres. That incorporates courtyards, too, leaving even less clinical floor space.

Saturday, 17th November 2018, 8:00 am

Yes, technology is advancing rapidly. This allows services to be delivered in a different way. That might well require less space.

But now we know the new hospital is no longer being shoe-horned in beside the leisure centre. It’s getting its own separate site, so there’ll be more room.

That means that more services could be delivered locally. That has to be a priority. We have to cut back on the number of unnecessary journeys to hospitals so far away. This is especially so for simple services involving such short appointments.

They talk about safety and sustainability, poor roads, winter weather, night driving, early mornings, late nights, long days, paying for petrol and parking, taking time off work, the pain and discomfort of travelling such long distances when you’re ill or injured, having to take someone else along, the time and cost that they incur, too, anxious hours in the car with a poorly kid or an ailing elderly relative – multiply all that by the many family and friends visiting inpatients elsewhere who should be in Berwick instead. All that way. All that stress. What’s safe and sustainable about that?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The new hospital needs to be large enough to deliver all the services reportedly provided currently in Berwick.

In addition, it needs to accommodate all the other services needed to ensure people aren’t doing all those unnecessary journeys. Then there still needs to be space left over to allow further services to be incorporated in the future as technology develops. We deserve to have all this delivered locally.

Berwick and the surrounding area has a growing and increasingly ageing population. Facilities fit for the future have to be properly planned. They have to be available locally in time to meet the needs of all residents of all ages.

The local economy is heavily dependent on tourism. The summer months see a substantial influx of visitors into Berwick and neighbouring countryside and coastal locations. Population numbers spike significantly in the holiday season. That has a substantial impact on healthcare services locally. Berwick definitely deserves a bigger, better hospital!

Isabel Hunter

A Better Hospital For Berwick