HEALTHCARE: So much for the promises made

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I write further to the publication of ‘Unit is rated Outstanding after making an impression’ (Morpeth Herald, September 6) regarding the Whalton Unit.

May I refer you back to the public meetings in 2007 regarding the closure of Morpeth Cottage Hospital.

Steve Russel, representing Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and Lynn Dixon, Executive Director of Service Modernisation for North of Tyne (at that time funders of any proposals), supported one another regarding the provision of local ward accommodation.

It was promised that this would continue to provide the same provision as the Cottage Hospital and into the future, if not perpetuity.

This was the wish of those who originally built the Cottage Hospital for the betterment of the residents of Morpeth.

There were promises to those residents who attended the later public meetings that Morpeth would never be left with less than it already had.

Yet now, only 11 years later, the closure of the Whalton Unit and transfer of patients and equipment is to take place on December 19, robbing the residents of Morpeth of this superb facility.

The Whalton Unit opened in 2009 as part of the improvements proposed by Northumbria NHS Trust and agreed by public consultation.

Looking at the figures for hospital stays from the opening of the unit in 2009 up to July 2018 shows that a total of 3,459 were taken up by Morthpethians and other patients who live adjacent to Morpeth.

In consequence, these patients have had easier public transport links to Morpeth than to Wansbeck General Hospital at Ashington.

A further thing to take into consideration about this move is the vast increase in carbon footprint that will be caused.

Brian Kipling

Morpeth