A new dementia centre has opened in Sunderland to help people with the condition

The Chair of the Alzheimer's Society has officially opened a new centre helping those with dementia in Sunderland


A new multi-million pound dementia centre has opened in the North East to help people with the illness.

The specialist service at Monkwearmouth Hospital in Sunderland has cost £10m and is run by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

Patients were first welcomed into the Dementia Centre at the end of last year, and chair of the Alzheimer’s Society, Dame Gill Morgan, has now officially opened the two-ward unit.

Hugh Morgan Williams, chairman of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust said: “Since it opened last November this building and its dedicated staff have already made a massive difference in helping those who have dementia.

“I was delighted to welcome Dame Gill to the building so she could see for herself the hard work and dedication of our staff and how much it means to our service users, carers and their families.”

Recently the centre became the first NHS building in the country to be awarded a gold design award from the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling.

Staff work closely with community services, to form a specialist centre for people with dementia in Sunderland and South Tyneside to help those living with the condition and associated complex needs.

Danielle Hayes, who is the Newcastle-based Alzheimer’s Society operations manager for the North and South of Tyne areas, said: “The Sunderland Dementia Centre represents another important step forward in the fight to improve the lives of people living with dementia.

Dame Gill Morgan, Moira Brown and Hugh Morgan Williams at the opening of the new Dementia Centre at Monkwearmouth Hospital in Sunderland
Dame Gill Morgan, Moira Brown and Hugh Morgan Williams at the opening of the new Dementia Centre at Monkwearmouth Hospital in Sunderland

“Individuals like the team behind the Monkwearmouth Hospital unit are raising the bar in the way we care for people with dementia and so they are to be commended.

“But most importantly this new purpose-built environment will be crucial to ensuring the best possible outcome for people with dementia, their families and their carers at what can be a difficult and distressing time.”

The new dementia centre is part of a £60m project which includes the development of the trust’s new hospital, Hopewood Park in Ryhope, which recently hosted two public open days ahead of its opening later this month.

Constructed by Laing O’Rourke and designed by Medial Architecture, the new building was planned in close consultation with service users, carers and staff.

Meanwhile, Gateshead Queen Elizabeth Hospital plans to integrate dementia care into everyday life at the hospital. There has been a number of initiatives introduced to make life easier for patients.

A £35,000 investment has been used to set up a dementia-friendly pilot ward, with a view to rolling the scheme out across the trust.

Gillian MacArthur, director of nursing, midwifery and quality at the Queen Elizabeth said: “We know that one in 14 patients over the age of 65 currently has a diagnosis of dementia and this number will increase because of an aging population.

“Our patients tell us that what they need from us is kindness, compassion, a smile, understanding and most importantly to be their voice when they are unable to speak.

“We fully understand some of the mental health issues that can emerge as we get older and our team is on hand to assess patients as well as providing them with information and management plans for their conditions.”


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