Permanent move recommended for Whalton Unit

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body has agreed with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s recommendation to take steps to permanently relocate the Whalton Unit to Wansbeck General Hospital.

At a meeting in Morpeth held in public, the governing body made the decision to retain the unit at Wansbeck hospital where it has been temporarily based since December 2018.

The governing body was told that the relocation of the unit from Morpeth to Wansbeck hospital has improved a number of aspects of patient care and safety. This has included patients receiving more timely and thorough investigations, fewer transfers of patients back to The Northumbria hospital for emergency care and fewer episodes of harm associated with incidents due to greater observation of patients.

While the original move was instigated due to nurse staffing issues and an expected increase in activity over the winter period, the meeting also heard that more nursing staff had been recruited for the unit since the relocation and more consistent nursing care is provided through an improved skill mix across the team.

The recommendation will now go to Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee which will decide whether the move is a significant variation in service and a public consultation is required.

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