North Tyneside General Hospital has been chosen by NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to host a new urgent care service.
Officially an Integrated Urgent Treatment Centre, it will be GP-led with booked appointments available 24 hours a day, seven days a week arranged via NHS 111.
It will also operate a walk-in service for minor injuries from 8am to midnight.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s executive medical director, Dr Jeremy Rushmer, said: “This is an absolutely fantastic result for North Tyneside hospital and confirms the importance of the site at Rake Lane.
“It represents a second major investment in the site in the last 12 months – following on from the recent opening of a £2.5million endoscopy suite.
“The hospital is already a world-class facility, treating thousands of patients every year, and this only cements that reputation.
“It’s a hugely exciting development and we can’t wait to get started.”
The CCG’s decision comes after an extensive public consultation on the service, its location and how best to access it. The move will lead to a simplified point of access – NHS 111 – and much closer integration of services, particularly between secondary and primary care.
“The new service will mean high standards of care and shorter waits for patients,” said trust GP clinical lead Dr Jane Weatherstone.
“It will also link into the health system as a whole and help ensure people can get the right care, at the right time, from the right clinician.
“For instance, by generating hundreds of extra GP appointments in the North Tyneside area, this service will help ensure that the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital can focus on those people in immediate need of critical or life-saving care.
“It really is a wonderful outcome for our patients, their families and our staff, and the site has a bright future providing healthcare to local communities.”
In response to the announcement, Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell said: “I welcome the confirmation that the urgent treatment centre will be at the Rake Lane hospital – it was the preferred choice of local people and I strongly campaigned for it to happen.
“It is just a pity this sensible decision wasn’t made at the first time of asking.
“I am disappointed that despite longer opening hours than originally proposed, it will still not be a 24-hour walk in service.
“The CCG has decided on a new model of urgent care and I will now be monitoring it closely to see if it works for local people and whether it is safe.”
“But the reality is, if people want to see local services that expand rather than contract, that investment will need a Labour Government.
“I hope, however, that the new urgent treatment centre will reassure local people that Rake Lane Hospital is an important part of local healthcare and will remain so in the future.”
The new centre is scheduled to open on October 1.