Key work at hospital to get ambulances back on road faster

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr Jeremy Rushmer, medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Work is starting to improve ambulance turnaround times at Northumberland’s emergency-care hospital.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust last week announced the start of works at the Northumbria hospital, near Cramlington to improve both patient experience and operational efficiency.

The move, part of the Trust’s winter preparations, comes as a result of listening to what the public and front-line staff have said.

The Northumbria is the region’s largest A&E department and since opening has seen an ever-increasing number of patients needing its services. This has meant that ambulances have sometimes struggled to hand over patients within 15 minutes (the national target).

The new modifications follow on from measures taken last year which have already helped boost performance.

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, the Trust’s medical director, said: “We take public and staff feedback very seriously and we’re always willing to try new ways of doing things if it means we provide a better level of service. We’ve listened, and then acted on what we’ve been told.”

The modifications – primarily affecting the North East Ambulance Service patient arrival bays – will start almost immediately.

The aims are to improve patient privacy and dignity on arrival and to enable ambulances (and their highly-trained crews) to get back out on the road where they can do the most good.

“It is an exciting time at the Northumbria,” added Dr Rushmer. “We are adding eight patient arrival bays to our existing ones and now are taking a big step forward in terms of patient privacy and dignity. Moreover, turning around ambulances faster is obviously everyone’s best interest.

“We won’t be resting on our laurels though – we fully expect this winter to be hard and are determined to be ready for it.”