HEALTH: Hospital is in the wrong location

There was an interesting letter from one of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust public governors (News Guardian, July 2).

It did not mention the location of the new hospital once, which is surprising.

Do I detect a problem with the word ‘Cramlington’?

Using £95m of borrowed public money, the trust has built an emergency hospital in Cramlington, just eight miles from one of the UK’s major trauma centres at the RVI in Newcastle.

Even the most forgiving of observers of all this might find that rather bizarre.

I strongly contend that the new emergency specialist hospital in Cramlington has been built in the wrong place, and I believe that there is much support for this view.

Factor in the huge future yearly running costs, together with interest liable on the £114.2m loan from Northumberland County Council to buy out the private-finance initiative for the whole project, together with the substantial extra costs to the ambulance service, and I suggest that the hospital in Cramlington will become a prime candidate for one of the most expensive financial blunders in the history of the NHS.

The vast sums of money that have been committed to this hospital could, I suggest, have easily provided the existing accident and emergency units at Rake Lane in North Shields, Wansbeck in Ashington and Hexham in Northumberland with all the improvements needed to continue providing a high level of care for the foreseeable future.

Now we have an emergency hospital in the wrong place that cannot treat serious head injuries close to a major trauma centre at the RVI, which can.

You’d think all this would have been spotted at the planning stage 10 years ago. You could not make it up.

S Ratcliffe