THE Duchess of Northumberland yesterday laid the foundation stone at a hospital being built in the county. The duchess was at Cramlington to perform the honours at the site where a specialist emergency care hospital is under construction.
She was joined by local children, who have been involved in the design and naming of sections of the hospital, and other dignitaries.
The hospital is part of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s ï¿½200m investment in healthcare for the 500,000 people who live in North Tyneside and Northumberland.
It will be the first dedicated emergency care hospital with emergency care specialists working 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Specialists in a broad range of conditions will be on call through the night to treat patients referred to them from emergency care.
Last November 40 young people from North Tyneside and Northumberland joined managers, nurses and doctors and took over planning for the hospital for a day as part of the national initiative Takeover Day.
They voted on a name for the paediatric department, with the successful theme Acorns to Oaks, put forward their views on how the department should look and how young people want to be communicated with when they come into hospital.
Those ideas have resulted in the introduction of the Northumbria family, colourful images of an extended family that will be used to provide information about where and how patients will be treated in the future.
The duchess laid the foundation stone yesterday in the presence of some of the teenagers and MPs Ronnie Campbell and Alan Campbell.
The young people explained to the duchess the thinking behind their ideas and showed her some of the first images of the Northumbria family. She said later: “I am amazed. I can not believe I was only here in November, only eight months ago, and all this has happened.
“It is very impressive. It looks like they have really thought about it, equally the young people and how the hospital might operate for young people.”
Among the youngsters was Rachel Storey, 14, of Whitley Bay.
The Whitley Bay High School student said: “I am glad to be here, to be a part of everything and to see what is going to happen – what the future of North Tyneside is going to look like.
“It is not just adults that can make all the decisions, young people need to have a say.”
Building work on the hospital will be completed in summer 2015.