Facility Improvements and Community Promise

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest NHS trusts in the country and provides services to more than 500,000 people across the 2,500 square mile area of Northumberland and North Tyneside. Staff provide care in an emergency care, general and community hospitals, via a range of community services and in people’s own homes.

Last month, Guy Opperman MP unveiled a plaque at Hexham General Hospital to mark the opening of the MRI scanner facility.

The state-of-the-art machine has actually been in operation for more than 18 months now, with the original plans for an opening ceremony put on hold due to the pandemic. 

Since opening, the service, operating three days a week, is seeing around 300 patients every month for key diagnostic scans, including around 25 cardiac patients per month undergoing specialised scans and 15 arthrograms – high-tech imaging for musculoskeletal conditions.

The hospital serves a large rural hinterland in the west of Northumberland, meaning timely access to the latest world-class technology much closer to home for many, not just in Northumbria Healthcare’s catchment, but across a wider, fairly remote area with limited access to MRI facilities.

Watch a video about the MRI scanner and what it means for patients here - https://youtu.be/G8ROKfioB-0

In the far north of the Northumbria patch, good progress continues to be made on the new, state-of-the-art £30million hospital at Berwick. The latest phase of the development, which will ensure modern and fit-for-purpose healthcare for a population spread another large rural area, this time in north Northumberland, is the demolition of parts of the existing infirmary, which dates back almost 150 years.

Buildings including theatres, the day ward, the reception, outbuildings and the energy centre will be demolished in a carefully managed sequence, taking into account the archaeological work that continues on site. A major dig is under way after discoveries during initial work carried out as part of the planning process. The team has uncovered what appears to be cobbled yards, a well and artefacts, including pottery, dating back to medieval times – around 1100AD, providing valuable insight into the history of the town.

Construction of the new hospital is planned to start in the spring of 2022.

Serving a diverse range of rural and urban populations means that we are focused on the issue of health inequalities and how they affect our communities. To this end, we have created a Health Inequalities Programme Board, chaired by leading public-health consultant Jonny Pearson-Stuttard, to lead our efforts on this, building on key regional partnerships.

In addition, earlier this year, we launched Our Community Promise, our pledge to make a difference to the people who live here, not just through providing high-quality healthcare, but by dealing with many of the social determinants of health and the ways we can have an impact, such as education, employment and the economy, factors which affect both rural and urban populations in different but equally serious ways.

Our Community Promise is introduced here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sICUMc4Ku5M


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