"Sea of Green Paramedics"

About: Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

This is the 2nd visit with my elderly father brought in my ambulance and I sincerely hope is the last.

I personally never wish to be brought into this hospital.

Upon arrival all that could be seen was a long line of patients on trolleys waiting on the corridor accompanied by 2 paramedics to each trolley.

The booking in time took nearly 2 hours.

This alone is not acceptable.

No wonder it takes so long for an ambulance to arrive when you ask for one, they are all held up at this hospital waiting for their patients to be booked in.

This happened on both occasions and the paramedics I spoke to all agreed this new hospital and this new system are not working.

It then took 5 hours for a doctor to assess my father, this again is not acceptable.

The hospital was not busy and goodness help us if it was, we could have been waiting

10 hours or more to see a doctor.

The worst of this is everyone knew that my father would get transferred to Rake Lane which he duly was in less than 24 hours.

This hospital cannot cope with the amount of patients coming in and something needs to be done immediately

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Response from Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

Dear Sir/Madam,

Firstly, please let me apologise for the fact that you have waited far longer for a response than I would have liked.

Having read your review I can only apologise, sincerely, for your fathers experience at The Northumbria hospital. Our staff don’t want any of their patients to experience long and frustrating waits for care & we particularly don’t want this to be the case for older people with complex needs who require urgent access to a full and comprehensive assessment. I am genuinely sorry that we failed to get this right for both you and your father.

I really want this to be an open response in which I try not to sound defensive or attempt to justify an experience that we’d all find unacceptable. The truth is the new hospital has radically changed the way we work and in these early months we are learning, alongside our partners and the local population, about the best way to ensure folk get access to the best care, delivered by the right people at the right place and at the right time.

We want everyone to have access to prompt and effective care regardless of their age and its one of the many reasons we have committed to opening the new hospital in the first place.

We haven’t always got this right this winter – it has been an exceptionally busy period with an unprecedented number of emergency care attendances reported across the NHS – for us, locally, this has meant assessing the needs of approximately 300 people in emergency care, every day, on The Northumbria site alone – this is an additional 90 people when compared to activity last year.

We absolutely agree with you that something needs to be done to address this immediately so we can learn from the lessons of this winter and ensure we don’t repeat mistakes in the future. The solutions are many and complex but pleased be assured, as a senior team, we are currently working very hard with staff at all levels to improve the system. It also involves working very closely with colleagues in the ambulance service and GPs to ensure people are directed to the right place and that all our systems can flex to meet peaks in demand when these happen in a predictable way.

Please get in touch with me directly Annie.laverty@nhct.nhs.uk if you would like to talk through your experience and observations in more in-depth. We genuinely welcome all feedback as a route to improvement. I can also put you in touch with senior leaders within emergency care so that you can hear first-hand all that the Trust is doing to manage activity and efficient flow through our hospitals.

I do hope that your father is now feeling a lot better -

I looking forward to hearing from you.

With best wishes,


Annie Laverty - Director of Patient Experience