Celebrating a year of emergency care

Patient Doreen Wilkinson and consultant cardiologist Dr Colin Doig.
Patient Doreen Wilkinson and consultant cardiologist Dr Colin Doig.
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This week marks the first anniversary of the opening of the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington.

Healthcare leaders have praised NHS staff for their efforts during a year of huge transformational change and an exceptionally busy time for services.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has published a One Year On update detailing the significant improvements in patient care, as well as the initial teething challenges, of its new model of emergency care introduced last summer across Northumberland and North Tyneside.

Key findings from the update include:

l A 15 per cent overall increase in urgent and emergency care activity, with over 150,000 attendances across both The Northumbria hospital and at 24/7 urgent care centres in Wansbeck, North Tyneside and Hexham hospitals

l A 14 per cent reduction in emergency admissions to hospital, with almost 7,500 less people being admitted, resulting in a £6million saving for the local health economy

l Consultants in a range of specialties, including consultant cardiologists, now working seven days a week and doing twice daily ward rounds on a Saturday and Sunday, just as they do on every other day of the week

It has not been without its challenges. The centralisation of emergency care has impacted on the performance of ambulance handover times with around seven per cent of all ambulance arrivals at The Northumbria waiting more than 30 minutes to handover patients.

Plans are in place to improve the physical space for ambulance arrivals in preparation for next winter.

Trust chief executive David Evans said: “Delivering such large-scale change is extremely difficult and I would like to thank all partners, in particular the North East Ambulance Service, for their support in helping us to work through some of the challenges experienced and, of course, those patients who have experienced any delays when arriving at The Northumbria this winter. Despite this, we should not underestimate the scale of what we have collectively achieved and the very positive benefits we are already seeing for patient care.”