The opening of a new emergency hospital has been hailed a resounding success.
Plans for the new facility were first mooted ten years ago, with the Northumbria Emergency Specialist Hospital opening its doors for the first time on Tuesday.
Senior directors at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have said they are delighted with the way the first day went.
Hours had been spent planning for the first day of operation, with mock trials run for staff and paramedics on how to deal with emergencies.
Medical director David Evans said: “We started our change on Monday, moving 14 patients from intensive care at Wansbeck and North Tyneside into this new facility.
“By the end of Tuesday, almost 40 other patients and babies from the special care baby unit will have been moved smoothly.
“We were able to treat immediately emergency patients at 6am as planned, everything has gone smoothly.
“We’re very pleased with the ways things have gone. Emergency care provision for Northumbria has changed, this specialist emergency care hospital will now provide emergency facilities for North Tyneside and Wansbeck.
“We’ve been planning for the move for almost a year. No other trust has moved three emergency units into one. This is the first for the UK. We’ve done lots of trial runs, lots of staff practices, ad a result we were able to make this move so effectively.”
He added: “So far everyone has been fine. We’ve done our first operations, our first baby has been born, and everyone is happy with the new facilities.
“It is a fantastic major improvement. We will continue to fill this hospital and deal with emergencies over the coming days and weeks, and expect people to have a good experience.”
The new Northumbria hospital is the first purpose-built dedicated emergency care hospital in England.
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 everyday to speed up specialist care for patients, maximising chances of survival and a good recovery and helping to save more lives.
Most patients will arrive at the new Northumbria hospital by emergency blue light ambulance or emergency GP admission and some people may arrive themselves. Patients will be seen quickly by an expert with senior clinical decision making upon arrival and quick access to tests and scans so that treatment can start sooner.
Changes have also taken place in emergency care at Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals which will become 24-hour walk-in services and continue to provide urgent care for people with less serious conditions.