The Duchess of Northumberland officially opened the country’s first hospital dedicated to emergency care yesterday.
Her Grace, who laid the foundation stone in July 2013, heard how emergency care has been transformed at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington, which opened in June.
The new Northumbria hospital treats people from across Northumberland and North Tyneside who are seriously ill or injured. It has emergency care consultants on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with consultants in a broad range of conditions also available every day to speed up specialist care for patients, maximising chances of survival and a good recovery and helping to save more lives.
The latest diagnostic equipment in the radiology department is located adjacent to the emergency department. This allows direct access to the CT scanning area, where emergency care teams are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Diagnostics available seven days a week means that patients are diagnosed quickly and treatment started early by senior consultants working seven days a week. This means a better outcome and recovery for patients.
Initial data shows that this new model of care is benefiting the local population by reducing the number of admissions into hospital and reducing the overall length of stay for those patients who are admitted.
Some of the region’s top surgeons are working seven days a week at the hospital ensuring patients in North Tyneside and Northumberland have their operations as soon as possible.
This new way of providing emergency care has already been recognised at national level by the medical director of NHS England when he described it as a ‘glimpse of the future’ and ‘setting the standard for others to follow’.
The hospital has attracted attention nationally and internationally with teams from all over the United Kingdom visiting Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to hear about the new way of delivering emergency care.
The Duchess, who is the Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland, said: “It was an honour to return to The Northumbria hospital to officially open the country’s first hospital dedicated to emergency care.
“It was fantastic to hear how the hospital has revolutionised emergency care in this area and meet patients who are benefitting from having quick access to specialist care around-the-clock and the staff who’ve worked so hard over many years to make this happen.
“To have this hospital which is truly leading the way nationally in our region is excellent news for everyone across Northumberland and North Tyneside and I would like to congratulate everyone involved.”
Since the hospital opened, nearly 24,000 people have attended emergency care with 12,700 people admitted. Ambulances arriving at the hospital totalled 11,169 and 858 babies have been born in the new birthing centre.
At the opening, the Duchess visited the emergency care department, wards, the birthing centre, special care baby unit and operating theatres, meeting staff, patients and volunteers along the way before unveiling the plaque.
David Evans, medical director at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We are delighted to welcome back the Duchess to perform our official opening – a lot has changed in the last two years.
“Today is a celebration of all that we have achieved together due to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved to implement a new model of emergency care for Northumberland and North Tyneside.
“Since the hospital opened in June, we have had excellent feedback from patients and their relatives about the care we provide and we remain committed to improving this yet further and building on our success.”