The new emergency hospital has been officially opened by the Duchess of Northumberland.
The Duchess, who carried out the ground-breaking ceremony for the hospital in October 2012 and 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.
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 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.”