Update on new Berwick Hospital

Update on new Berwick Hospital

Temporary changes to inpatient care at Berwick Hospital as building work progresses

The building of the new £35 million hospital in Berwick-upon-Tweed is now at a stage where changes to inpatient care are needed to ensure that the new hospital will open on schedule towards the end of 2024.

A new temporary 10-bed inpatient ward will be installed in the maternity car park while the hospital works continue. This is necessary to ensure that patients can remain on the hospital site in Berwick rather than be cared for elsewhere in Northumberland.

Some patients that would usually be admitted to Berwick Infirmary will be cared for in Alnwick depending on their clinical need.

Relocation of the ward will ensure the best completion date so that people from Berwick and other local communities can access the new 20-bed hospital as quickly as possible.

Maternity, oncology, ambulatory care and minor injury unit services will remain within the Berwick Infirmary building and will not be affected.

Northumbria Healthcare is working with Northumberland County Council to ensure that maternity patients have access to parking nearby.

Once the frame of the new hospital is up, stairs and floors will be installed along with an accessible rooftop. The building will be clad and glazed externally to weatherproof it and the building will be fitted out.

Finally, the remaining old hospital buildings will be demolished, the car park and access roads will be built, and landscaping work completed.

Read more about the developments at Berwick hospital

Get in touch if you would like to tell us about a health or social care service you or a loved one have used.

Dental services in Berwick

Dental services in Berwick

With the MyDentist practice in Castlegate closing at the end of September 2022, we have been hearing concerns from patients in Berwick about the provision of NHS dental services.

NHS England has given us the following messages for residents of Berwick and the wider area.

  • NHS England is acutely aware of the difficulties patients are experiencing in accessing NHS dental care following the closure of the practice in Berwick.
  • NHS England is looking at short term solutions to increase access for patients requiring urgent dental care whilst it works on the longer-term solution of securing a new NHS provider in Berwick, both of which are dependent on the availability of the dental workforce.
  • Berwick has not been forgotten and NHS England is trying hard to find alternative dentists or services to fill the gap. This includes approaching dentists in other parts of the county to see if they can offer any additional capacity.
  • In the meantime, the best advice is to use NHS111 for urgent or emergency treatment. If after clinical triage, your dental problem is not assessed as being clinically urgent, you will be asked to contact an NHS dental practice and/or given self-care advice until an appointment can be offered.
  • When contacting an NHS dental practice it is important that you tell the practice up front what the problem is so that they can determine the urgency of the dental need. NHS England is asking dental providers to prioritise those patients in greatest need into their available appointment slots.
  • NHS dental providers will soon be required update the NHS website with availability of NHS provision as part of some recently announced reforms.
  • Other changes to come out of the dental contract reform programme include making it easier for practices to use the skills of dental therapists and hygienists to undertake some of the work currently done by dentists. This will free up dentist time to focus on patients with more complex treatment needs.
  • The frequency in which you need to attend a dentist for a check-up is based on your oral health – if your teeth and gums are healthy, you may not need to attend as often and this could be up to two years for those with good oral health.

Here at Healthwatch Northumberland we will continue to monitor the experience of patients in the area, make NHS England aware of ongoing issues and press for positive outcomes.

If you would like to tell us about your experiences of dental services please get in touch.


David’s at the helm of new Berwick hospital

David’s at the helm of new Berwick hospital

From Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust:

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.


Audiology Cinic drop-in Berwick – Union Brae

Audiology Cinic drop-in Berwick – Union Brae

As part of our work to find out people’s experiences of using audiology services, we will be at the audiology clinic in Berwick talking to those using the services. We will be asking people with hearing loss a few questions to find out what is working well for them and what could be improved.


Audiology drop-in Berwick

Audiology drop-in Berwick

As part of our work to find out people’s experiences of using audiology services, we will be at Berwick Library talking to those using the services. We will be asking people with hearing loss a few questions to find out what is working well for them and what could be improved.


Carers Rights Day 2018

Are you a carer? Do you know your rights?

Come along to this Carers Rights Day event which this year has the theme ‘Caring for your Future’.

There will be lots of information and advice on:

Carers Rights, Paying for Care, Welfare Rights, Employment, Local Carer Support and much more.

Stall holders include: Healthwatch Northumberland, Welfare Rights Unit, Adult Services, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Citizens Advice Bureau, Hospice Care North Northumberland, Bridge Project, Northumberland Cancer Awareness, NTW mental Health services, Escape Family Support.

Try a relaxing therapy or a craft and have a cuppa with a Key Worker.

Berwick Library Drop-In

We will be at Berwick Library on Wednesday 10 October 1.00pm to 4.00pm, listening to local people about their experiences of health and social care services, as part of Northumberland Libraries health and wellbeing week.

Come and say hello to the team and tell us what you think of services in your area.

Public Drop-in Session for Berwick Hospital Plans

Public Drop-in Session for Berwick Hospital Plans

People are being invited to a drop-in session next Thursday, 27 September to give their views on plans for hospital and leisure development in Berwick.
Representatives from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland County Council will be at the The Swan Centre from 10am to 12pm to listen to people’s views and answer any questions.A spokesperson for the trust and council said: “We’re fully aware that some local people have concerns about co-locating a hospital and leisure centre on one site and we’d encourage residents to come along and talk to us about them so we can better understand how they feel.

“Ahead of the session we’d like to reassure people that the funding for the new hospital is secure as is the funding for the new leisure centre. We look forward to meeting people on the day.”

We will be there to listen to people’s reactions to what they see and hear on the day.

Winter Warmer Event – Berwick

Winter Warmer Event – Berwick

The annual Winter Warmer events from Ageing Well in Northumberland provide information on how to stay safe and well this winter, with organisations present from your local community.  The events are free and friendly – come along for a cuppa and a chat.

If you would like more information about this event please contact Sarah Aisbitt on:

MS Society Open Evening

Coming Together

The MS Society is holding a consultation session in Berwick for anyone affected by MS.

For more details please contact:


Volunteer and Wellbeing Fair – Berwick upon Tweed

If you’ve ever thought about doing some volunteering or just want to feel a bit better in 2018, then come along to find out more about opportunities for you to get involved in things happening near to you. The event is brought to you by Northumberland CVA and as well as Healthwatch Northumberland, there’ll be all sorts of local organisations there including: Tyneside & Northumberland Mind, Northumbria Cancer Patient and Carer Group, Cygnus Support, Northumbria Police, Berwick Animal Rescue, Northumberland County Blind Association, Citizens Advice Bureau and many more.

For more information contact Northumberland CVA on: 01670 858688 or email: