No need for a multi-use unit
I went to the meeting at Berwick Town Hall on Wednesday, May 2, about a possible integrated hospital and leisure development for Berwick.
The meeting was well attended and many people expressed great concerns about continuing delays for the improvement of hospital facilities and the problems brought about by the lack of such facilities.
As I pointed out to the meeting, if you integrate the Swan Centre and the Infirmary onto one site, either Tweedmouth loses its sports centre or Berwick loses its infirmary, thereby removing something important from the centre of each community.
We were repeatedly told that our comments would be listened to, noted and recorded.
I reminded the meeting that several years ago we had a democratic referendum which asked us, the people of Northumberland, if we wanted central or regional councils. We elected for regional councils, then two years later we were told that we would have a central council.
Will this be repeated with Berwick Infirmary redevelopment? Will we be told what has been decided for us?
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If the last administration of Northumberland County Council could find in excess of £80million to build itself new offices and organise the new Morpeth/Ashington bypass, what is the problem of financing facilities in Berwick and improving the A1?
After the experts repeatedly told us how good the integration of the hospital and leisure centre was for budgeting requirements, social awareness, medical care, flexibility, etc, I totally forgot to ask them for directions to the new sport and leisure centre, which they must surely have incorporated in the new Cramlington hospital.
A show of hands vote from the floor opted for a single unit hospital. There was little support for an integrated development.
As Berwick and Tweedmouth already have two centres of excellence in the Infirmary and the Swan Centre, is this proposed multi-use unit necessary? Mike Wade