Ear Nose and Throat services in Berwick
In October 2016 we became aware of a planned change in location for Ear, nose and throat (ENT) outpatient provision at Berwick Infirmary which would result in a period of approximately one month when people in the area would have no consultant led clinics or hearing aid repair service.
Concerned about a period during which there would be no service and a change of location, we wrote to Northumberland CCG to query the rationale behind the move and requested information about what alternative provision would be available to patients while the clinic was closed.
We met with patients at an ENT drop-in session at Berwick Infirmary to gather their feedback directly. When we were there we only saw one small notice and a few information slips displayed in the drop-in session waiting area so we contacted Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which provides the service, to query what information patients had received about the changes. The response was reassuring in that it said the move would mean the ENT service would be ‘delivered from brand new and improved facilities with the capacity to administer the same throughput of patients as before’.
We were still concerned about the continuity of service and were pleased when, following discussions with the ENT Directorate Manager at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Northumberland CCG confirmed that ENT services would continue at Berwick Infirmary until the changeover date and patients would be seen by the same staff team.
We were advised that all patients with upcoming appointments had been sent a letter about the new location for the clinic. In addition, there would be a public announcement about the changes including a news item in the Berwick Advertiser to inform local residents about the change as well as the trust’s ongoing commitment to providing a continued ENT and Audiology service in Berwick.