Plans have been revealed for a £30m development of heart services at the Freeman Hospital

Planning permission has been sought for the expansion of cardiothoracic services at the Freeman Hospital

Freeman Hospital, Newcastle
Freeman Hospital, Newcastle

Plans have been revealed by health chiefs for a £30m expansion of heart services at a leading North East hospital.

Planning permission has been sought for the development of Newcastle Freeman Hospital’s Cardiothoracic Centre, which is a regional and national centre of excellence for patient treatment.

The specialist service provides care for all types of heart and respiratory related conditions in adults and children. Newcastle Hospitals is the only trust in the UK to provide all cardiac care from conception, through birth, childhood and onto adulthood.

The move comes at a time when uncertainty surrounds the future of heart services in the region as the national review of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) continues. Findings of the review will be released later this year.

Newcastle East Nick Brown said: “This is a great statement of confidence in the internationally renowned heart surgery at the Freeman Hospital. We are all very proud of them.”

Demand for cardiothoracic expertise at the Freeman Hospital has grown substantially over the unit’s history since first opening in 1977. This is particularly relevant to children’s heart services, where location and standards for treatment and recovery areas have developed in response to the complexity and long-term nature of treatment.

The children’s heart unit undertakes complex congenital heart surgery that cannot be performed in any other centre. The unit treats children who are in the most at-risk group and accepts referrals for this type of surgery from every UK and Republic of Ireland children’s heart unit.

Plans have been put forward to build a new development on the south-western part of the Freeman Hospital site. The proposed building will sit alongside the regional cardiothoracic centre.

The three-storey facility will include a 20 bed paediatric intensive care unit, an 18 bed inpatient ward, and cardiothoracic operating theatre and catheter laboratory suite.

It is expected that building of the premises will begin in May next year, with the new centre open to patients by November 2016.

Sir Leonard Fenwick, chief executive of Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It will be in the car park in the front of the regional cardiothoracic centre.

“We’re going to be doing some demolitions. We’ve acquired an office block called Regent Point at Regent Centre. We are moving all of our back office into there to give us more space in the hospitals to do more clinical work.

“The new centre is an expansion to the current services. It’s to provide more modern, sustainable conditions, high technology, intervention care environment for children, to build upon what already exists. The spur for us is to continue to innovate and ensure that there are good outcomes.”

Plans for the proposed new development will be on display in the atrium of the Institute of Transplantation at the Freeman Hospital between 5pm and 7pm tonight.


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