As a decision date draws nearer, I would like to reiterate my call for the reopening of the overnight facility at Hexham General Hospital.
Since December last year the hospital has been closed from midnight until 8am, initially as a temporary measure, however this has been extended several times since then. I have had extensive meetings with NHS staff, managers and key Directors of the NHS Trust and I strongly believe that 24-hour care is an essential facility for the people of Hexham and the surrounding area.
The Trust, the Board and senior managers have repeatedly made clear to me that maintaining an overnight walk-in facility would happen, and I hope that they will honour this promise. This closure is causing the Northumbria NHS Trust reputational damage, even though its hospitals are otherwise performing extremely well.
Expecting patients, many of them elderly, to travel late at night to Cramlington Hospital is unreasonable and an unnecessary expense to them. I hope that the overnight facility at Hexham General Hospital can be reopened as soon as possible so that the people of Hexham can once again make use of this vital facility.