Hospital services still top priority
News of a new stand-alone hospital has been warmly welcomed by all involved in and associated with the A Better Hospital For Berwick campaign.
Campaigners argued that the original proposal for an integrated health and leisure development at the Swan Centre was not suitable.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is now considering its options.
Providing an update on the campaign, a spokesman said: “The overwhelming public pressure brought to bear by the local population clearly convinced decision-makers.
“They concluded, correctly, that people felt the planned co-located health and leisure facility could not possibly deliver the healthcare services which the new Berwick hospital will need to provide for the future.
“Following that laudably swift, sharp u-turn, the focus of the campaign is now very firmly fixed on securing those services. In all this A Better Hospital For Berwick has gained wide-ranging support. We would like to acknowledge that here.”
Those thanked include former MP Lord Beith and Lord Purvis, MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Berwick Labour Party, Berwick Green Party and Berwick Trades Union Council.
Mayor of Berwick Brian Douglas and Berwick Town Council endorsed the aims of the campaign group and local county councillors jointly opposed the co-location plans, while Coun Scott Dickinson (Labour) listened supportively to its concerns and the leader of Northumberland County Council, Coun Peter Jackson (Conservative), urged Northumbria Healthcare not to proceed with those plans.
The spokesman added: “Whilst A Better Hospital For Berwick maintains a determinedly party-politically neutral stance, the campaign clearly has all-party, cross-party and non-party political support from a wide range of individuals and organisations; all of it equally welcome.
“The committee of A Better Hospital For Berwick similarly spans the whole political spectrum; there are members of all principal parties, as well as none. This intentionally balances us as a group.
“We nevertheless work together, on behalf of A Better Hospital For Berwick, cooperatively and collaboratively, in an entirely non-party-political way.”
They continued: “Illness, injury and - ultimately - death are great levellers! Healthcare is vitally important, crucial for us all, irrespective of our differences, political or otherwise. Our campaign is aimed at getting the people of this community the hospital services they need. It is not a band-wagon for political opportunists to jump on. With parliamentary election rumours rumbling daily around Westminster we wanted to be clear on this point. No one should be looking to capitalise politically on this campaign. A Better Hospital For Berwick should transcend politics.”