£150m investment in region’s hospitals

The Northumbria hospital at Cramlington.
The Northumbria hospital at Cramlington.

Hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside are to be upgraded and improved as part of a £150million investment by the NHS.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust used its AGM on Wednesday to announce the major investment in buildings, IT infrastructure and equipment over the next five years.

In total, more than £92million will spent on buildings, including a new hospital in Berwick and ongoing investment at both North Tyneside and Wansbeck.

An outpatient extension aimed at de-congesting A&E at Northumberland’s emergency care hospital, the Northumbria in Cramlington, will also be built. A planning application was submitted to Northumberland County Council last month.

Another £23million will be spent on new equipment.

This will include a CT scanner at Hexham, £600,000 for x-ray equipment at Alnwick, Morpeth, North Tyneside and Wansbeck, and items such as operating tables, state-of-the-art medical instruments and sterilising equipment for both surgical theatres and pathology.

The remaining £35million will be invested in technology and IT infrastructure.

Northumbria Healthcare’s chief executive Jim Mackey said: “Now in its 70th year, the NHS continues to touch our lives in many different ways and remains one of our most-loved national institutions.

“It’s a very exciting time to work here as healthcare changes in ways we would never have expected even 10 years ago.

“Thanks to this programme and these investments, we are ensuring that the NHS will still be supporting our communities 70 years from now.

“Moreover, as a result of the care our staff deliver to every single resident who needs it – irrespective of means – will be living a healthier life for longer. Which is why we’re here after all.”

At yesterday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing board, the trust’s director of communications and corporate affairs, Claire Riley, said that there’s not many NHS organisations in the country that are investing such a significant sum of money.

Council leader Peter Jackson said: “Other health trusts in the country are looking at us with envy, because of how we work in partnership, and we are still looking to improve.”

Coun Veronica Jones, the cabinet member responsible for health, added that during the AGM, Mr Mackey’s message about Northumbria Healthcare striving to be the best trust in the country ‘came over loud and clear’.

Ben O’Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service