Cross-border A&E needed

Berwick Infirmary.
Berwick Infirmary.

A Northumberland County Councillor believes that a cross border deal is the only hope for retaining an accident and emergency unit when the new Berwick hospital is built.

Georgina Hill, said; “Myself and others have repeatedly raised the issue of an A&E and Berwick residents having to travel to Cramlington.

“However, we seem to have hit a complete brick wall. This relates to both local NHS policy, maintaining that they can only just manage to staff an A&E in Cramlington, and the ongoing impact of the deal that Tony Blair made with the BMA over doctors’ working conditions in 2004.

“We are considered a small town but there is actually a large catchment area including many rural parts, but in terms of the hospital they are clearly only considering the English side of the border.”

Ms Hill admitted that funding from Scotland or even a cross border hospital is highly ambitious and a difficult one to pull off; “Berwick could do with a show of strength of feeling and protest about the lack of an A&E, like we did over the maternity unit, but the reality is that this will not change anything. The only solution is to try to persuade counterparts in Scotland to join forces with us.”

Georgina Hill has made contact with Shona Robison MSP, the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Health in a hope of opening up dialogue.