A North East health chief joined the medical director of the NHS to take part in a national event to discuss the future of urgent and emergency care across England.
Medical director of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, David Evans, met with Sir Bruce Keogh and healthcare leaders from across the country at The Kings Fund in London on Tuesday to share learning about a new specialist emergency care hospital which will open in Cramlington next summer.
The new model of emergency care being implemented by Northumbria Healthcare is the result of 10 years’ work led by the Trust’s clinical teams and is in line with Sir Bruce’s Urgent and Emergency Care Review, which calls for larger “major emergency care departments” with consistent levels of senior staffing, in order to maximise chances of survival and a good recovery.
When the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital opens next summer it will be the first purpose built hospital in the country dedicated to providing emergency care, with consultants working in a range of specialities seven days a week.
Mr Evans said: “The evidence is clear that seeing the right specialist for your condition quickly when you are seriously ill or injured greatly improves chances of survival and results in better clinical outcomes for patients, regardless of journey times.
“The challenges facing A&E across the country are immense and we are proud that our clinical teams began thinking many years ago about how we can provide the very best clinical care, delivered by the most senior doctors, consistently in the future, for the vast population we serve.
“When our new specialist emergency care hospital opens, for the first time we will be able to separate our emergency care from the planned care taking place at our general hospitals in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck and this will bring significant benefits for both patients and staff.
“Patients attending walk-in A&Es at our general hospitals with less serious illnesses, ailments and injuries will also be seen more quickly in the future as staff will not be distracted or called away to treat more serious cases.”
Sir Bruce opened The King’s Fund event with an update on his national review and how the NHS can address the immediate challenges facing urgent and emergency care services across the country.
Earlier this year he gave Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital the seal of approval at a ‘topping out’ ceremony.
He said: “Medicine has become more and more complicated over the last two or three decades and people who are ill need more complex care and more specialist care. We have recently done a review of how urgent and emergency care services could be provided.
“One of the things we concluded is that we needed to have specialist centres to focus very specifically on dealing with very ill people in emergency situations and this is exactly the sort of place that we had envisaged. I think I have had a glimpse of the future.”