A project manager has been appointed to drive forward the building of the new £25million hospital in Berwick.
David Smailes will oversee all aspects of the development which is set to transform healthcare in the area and be erected on the site of the existing Berwick Infirmary. Northumberland-born and bred, David has more than 40 years’ experience in the civil engineering and construction industry and has led a number of large national projects.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s planning application is due to be decided by Northumberland County Council on Tuesday 1 December.
David, who was born in Alnwick and lives in Warkworth, said “I’m really excited to be part of the team building the new hospital in Berwick and the significance of this development for the town, the surrounding area, and the trust is clear from the short time I have been in post.
“My uncle Joseph was a barber in Berwick for many years so I feel I have a connection with the place and therefore it’s extra special to be involved in this project and spending time there once again.
“This hospital is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a massive difference to the lives of people for generations to come and I am proud to be working with such a dedicated, experienced and knowledgeable team.”
David, 56, added “I fully appreciate the importance of working collaboratively with the local community on developments of this magnitude and I would like to reassure residents and all partners that we will keep everyone updated throughout this process.
“While it will be challenging to build a new hospital at the same time as keeping the existing one operational, every one of the team is committed to doing just that and ensuring we continue to keep our staff safe and deliver high quality care for our patients at all times.”
If given the go-ahead, the two-storey hospital will re-provide all the existing services and embrace the latest technology to improve care for patients. It will accommodate Well Close Medical Group which will pave the way for further integration between GPs and the hospital for the benefit of patients.
Executive Director Marion Dickson, who is leading the Berwick redevelopment project for the trust, said “We are delighted to have David at the helm as we reach the stage of having a dedicated project manager for our new hospital. He has vast experience in this field and, having links to the town, is aware of the background and the need to more forward as quickly as we can.
“We will continue to keep you updated and can assure you that, as soon as we are granted planning permission, we will advance to the next stage of the development by demolishing the parts of the infirmary which we have vacated, to make way for the new hospital.”
Patients with appointments at Berwick Infirmary are encouraged to attend as normal in the run-up to, and construction of, the new hospital, and during Covid-19.