Tyne & Wear

Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck urgent care units to close at night

Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, in Cramlington
Image caption The Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital opened in 2015

Three emergency care units are closing their doors to overnight patients in an effort to focus care over the winter.

The units in North Tyneside and Northumberland will be shut between midnight and 08:00 from 1 December.

Overnight emergencies will be diverted to the recently-opened Northumbria Hospital in Cramlington, until March.

Health bosses say the move - at North Tyneside, Hexham and Wansbeck hospitals - is needed to cope with an expected rise in 999 admissions over the winter.

The Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said the impact on patients would be minimal as the units are currently underused at night.

'Resilience planning'

Staff from the units are being moved to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, in Cramlington, which opened last year, to deal with predicted peak day-time admissions, the trust said.

A spokesman said: "This essential temporary measure is being taken as part of winter resilience planning and means that highly-skilled nursing staff can be deployed where there is most demand on services from patients.

"Since opening the Northumbria hospital in June 2015, activity overnight at the urgent care centres has been minimal with, on average, less than 10 overnight attendances a day across all three centres.

"The trust is keen to emphasise that this is a temporary measure only.

"All three urgent care centres will continue to be open from 8am until midnight seven days a week, with a medical presence also on site from 9am to 10pm seven days a week."

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