Northumbria Healthcare today announced plans to construct a separate – stand-alone – hospital in Berwick as a replacement for the current Infirmary. The decision comes as a result of feedback from the public and Northumbria Healthcare public governors. It replaces previously announced plans for a joint development with Northumberland County Council on a single site at The Swan Centre.The following is a statement from Northumbria Healthcare website.Integrated working with partner agencies, such as the county council will proceed where appropriate but all the services will not be co-located on a single site. Full details of the new plan are not yet available but intensive discussions are on-going with further announcements expected in the near future.Jim Mackey, chief executive at Northumbria Healthcare said: “When we announced plans for a joint – integrated – site it was our intention that Berwick has a new and modern hospital – this remains the case. Equally, we are fully committed to investing £25 million in the project. However, we are also committed to working with the community to make sure their particular concerns are addressed.
“Feedback from the public – and from our elected public governors – has been unequivocal on the question of co-location: they don’t want it. As such, we will now move forward with a separate site.”
Much of the feedback received from the public related to the provision of services at the proposed new Infirmary – with particular concern that there wasn’t enough on offer.
Jim Mackey responded:
“Service provision at Berwick is something we take very seriously and wherever possible we are committed to bringing care as close to home as possible. Following feedback from the community it’s clear we need to reflect on this further. For instance, we don’t want people travelling for routine – relatively simple – procedures like pre-operative assessments. Equally, wherever possible, we need to make much more of an effort to offer more appointments at Berwick Infirmary to local residents. In both cases, we accept we could and should have done more and are committed to doing so in future.”
The report of the work undertaken by Healthwatch Northumberland around this can be read here.