A hospital ward is set to close in a move that has sparked anger among patients.
Ward 12 at North Tyneside General Hospital, in North Shields, is set to close at the end of the month due to a drop in demand for its beds.
The ward – which was primarily for cardiology patients but became a mixed ward – is closing as more patients are now being treated at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington, while others are also being seen at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
But the decision has sparked anger among patients.
One patient, who asked not to be named, said: “This decision has been taken without public consultation or the people of North Tyneside’s knowledge.
“Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust has taken the decision to close the cardiology ward (ward 12) at North Tyneside General Hospital.
“Patients with cardiac conditions will continue to be admitted to Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital at Cramlington.
“Those patients who require transfers to the Freeman Hospital for acute intervention will continue to be transferred to the Freeman.
“Those patients who require a longer stay in hospital to recover from a cardiac condition will be transferred to Wansbeck General Hospital in Ashington for the rest of their inpatient stay.
“There will be no inpatient cardiac beds at North Tyneside General Hospital.”
Officials at the health trust have defended their decision, saying better care at The Northumbria meant no need to be seen at North Tyneside General.
Dr Jeremy Rushmer, executive medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Ward 12 – although called ‘cardiology’ – is in reality a mixed ward caring for patients with a range of conditions.
“Thanks to the success of The Northumbria hospital – with its 24/7 consultant-led care, round-the-clock diagnostics and world-class technology – more cardiology patients are experiencing shorter stays in hospital.
“This reduces the need for patients being transferred to a general hospital bed for on-going care, with many even able to go straight home following emergency treatment.
“This means we are able to make more resources available for our other patients who may require a more extended stay.
“These changes are part of our continued commitment to offer the best possible care to our patients and their families.”
It is the latest blow to North Tyneside General Hospital following the temporary closure of its urgent care centre between midnight and 8am due to a drop in numbers and moving more staff to The Northumbria hospital.
The temporary closure has been in effect since last December, extended again for three months in June.
The closure had also affected Wansbeck and Hexham general hospitals but those temporary closures are set to end at the end of the month.