A review of new hospital welcome

IT appears that a new hospital is now set to be built near High Pit, East Cramlington, close to the Annitsford/Moor Farm A19 intersection.

This proposal was consulted upon some two years ago.

Mixed opinion emerged as to whether there was clear evidence that this venture would turn out to be in the public interest and would represent the best use of public sector funding in these financially straitened times.

It is claimed that the purpose of the development is to provide a ‘Specialised Emergency Care Hospital, one of the first of its kind in the country’.

Oddly enough that is what the new infrastructure at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, less than eight miles from this site in Newcastle, now provides.

Not only does the Royal Victoria Infirmary provide emergency care across the whole spectrum of medical and surgical disciplines, for both adults and children, but it is also supported by a complete spectrum of subspecialties, many of which will not be available at Cramlington.

As long established and competent healthcare professionals we are already on the public record as doubting the wisdom of and the case of need for siting a facility of this size and function in such a location, particularly in such challenging economic times.

The fixed running costs of this new hospital and the additional ambulance costs associated with it are said not to be an issue which, given the necessary financial stringencies that have been imposed across the public sector, we find difficult to understand.

We are aware that Simon Burns MP, Minister of State for Health, has requested the North East Strategic Health Authority to look again at how this new, one-off, specialist hospital fits in with already well established health services north of the river Tyne.

This good governance initiative is welcomed and we shall, if invited to do so, be pleased to contribute to the debate and express our views.

DR T J WALLS

Medical Director and Consultant Neurologist

Signed on behalf of 62 other senior medical figures