A new hospital being built in the North East has been described as a “glimpse of the future” for emergency care nationwide.
NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh gave the specialist emergency care hospital near Cramlington, Northumberland, the seal of approval at a ‘topping out’ ceremony on site yesterday.
Sir Keogh, author of the recent Urgent and Emergency Care Review, said: “I think this is a fantastic endeavour and when it is complete it will bring something really very special to the people of this region.
“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.”
The new hospital will be the first in the country dedicated to providing emergency care with A&E consultants working 24/7 to care for seriously ill or injured patients.
It is a facility that is in line with Sir Keogh’s recommendations for major emergency centres with consistent levels of senior staffing and access to the specialist equipment and expertise needed to deliver the best outcomes for patients.
Sir Keogh said that the hospital would work in collaboration with existing services, and although some patients would have to travel further he insisted the “results will be much better.”
Jacqueline Gregson, an emergency care consultant at Wansbeck General Hospital, will work at the hospital and said the new facility helped her decide on her chosen career path.
The 38-year-old, of Gosforth, Newcastle, said: “It is very exciting and all the emergency care consultants have been involved in ever stage of the hospital’s development.
“It’s nice to be part of the new hospital and a forward-thinking health trust. Sir Bruce Keogh visiting the site is a ringing endorsement for the new hospital.”
The specialist emergency care hospital is part of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s £200m investment in health care. It is due for completion in June 2015.
Dr David Evans, medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted that Sir Keogh has visited the site as he acknowledges that this is the way forward in delivering emergency care. We started talking about this about 14 years ago and planning it eight years ago. I’m proud of the team for what we have achieved.”