Sir Bruce revisits pioneering new Emergency Care Hospital

Sir Bruce Keogh has paid a return visit to Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital as the impressive david-evans-sir-bruce-jim-mackey£75million development prepares to open this summer.

NHS England’s National Medical Director met some of the doctors and nurses who have helped design the hospital and who will be caring for seriously ill or injured patients from North Tyneside and Northumberland.

The Emergency Care Hospital is the first purpose-built hospital of its kind in the country and staff worked alongside architects to ensure patients’ needs were central to its design. When Sir Bruce was guest of honour at the topping out ceremony just over a year ago, he described it as “a glimpse of the future”.

The hospital, which is due to open this summer and recently featured on BBC1’s The One Show, will have emergency care consultants on site 24/7, while other specialist consultants in a broad range of conditions will offer services seven days a week.

Speeding up specialist care for patients will maximise their chances of survival and a good recovery.

Seriously ill or injured patients will arrive by blue light ambulance or will be referred by their GP. Senior decision making on arrival and fast access to diagnostics located close to the emergency department hub will ensure speedy test results allowing specialists to start treatment earlier, improving outcomes and recovery.

It is part of an innovative new model of emergency care which will help save more lives and improve clinical outcomes for more patients across Northumberland and North Tyneside.

The new model at Northumbria is in line with the vision recently outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View to develop networks of linked hospitals that ensure patients with the most serious needs get to specialist emergency centres, and that hospital patients have access to seven day services where this makes a difference to outcomes.

The approach has been endorsed by Sir Bruce who, as part of his Urgent and Emergency Care Review, is calling for “patients to receive the right treatment at the right place”, with consistent levels of senior staffing in order to maximise chances of survival and a good recovery for patients.

Separating emergency care from planned care will also benefit patients at Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals.   They will become centres of excellence for planned operations and all outpatient clinics and diagnostics will take place there.

Urgent care 24 hour walk-in services at Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck will treat those patients with less serious conditions, and patients will be seen quicker as a result of emergencies being treated at the new Northumbria hospital.Sir Bruce Keogh and David Evans

Sir Bruce explained: “This is all about ensuring patients with complicated needs or life threatening conditions get to a centre with the appropriate expertise in place. It is good to be back in the region to visit the new Northumbria hospital which is at the forefront of future emergency medicine.

“The challenges facing A&E services across the country are immense and our vision for the future is very much in line with what Northumbria Healthcare have already been developing with the opening of the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital to look after those with serious, life threatening emergencies.

“This hospital will give the sickest people of this area access to sophisticated diagnostics and the right expertise for people with serious or life threatening conditions.

“Survival chances will be much better and in the decades to come it will make a difference to the people of North Tyneside and Northumberland.

“It is testament to the clinical teams at Northumbria, who began thinking about their new model of emergency care many years ago, that the North East is now well ahead of other parts of the NHS in making the national vision for urgent and emergency care a reality for patients.”

Mr David Evans, Medical Director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The evidence is clear that seeing the right specialist for your condition quickly when you are seriously ill or injured greatly improves chances of survival and results in better clinical outcomes for patients, regardless of journey times.

“We are very proud that our teams are ahead of the rest of the NHS in developing a new model of emergency care which has been ten years in the making, will be clinically best for patients and also resilient for the future.

“While our new hospital will treat seriously ill or injured patients from across Northumberland and North Tyneside, people with less serious conditions will continue to receive urgent care at 24 hour walk-in services at our general hospitals in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck. We also expect these walk-in patients will be seen more quickly in the future as staff will not be distracted or called away to treat more serious cases.”


  • The Trust has invested £75 million to build the new state-of-the-art Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital with a further £15million invested on roads, infrastructure and new equipment.
  • It will have 210 acute beds spread across seven speciality wards for:
    • Surgery
    • Trauma
    • Cardiology
    • Respiratory
    • Elderly care (including stroke)
    • Acute medical unit
    • Gastrointestina
  • In addition there will be:
    • A short stay paediatric assessment unit with paediatric ambulatory care spaces for children who do not need admission overnight.
    • An ambulatory care unit to provide care for those who do not need emergency hospital admission.
    • Acritical care unit.
    • Operating theatres for emergency / high risk surgery
    • A Birthing Centre with a consultant/obstetric led unit and co-located midwifery-led care and special care baby unit.