Mary opens Outpatient Centre in Wallsend

A facility which delivers health services to patients in the heart of the Wallsend community was officially opened by the area’s MP today (Friday, February 18).

Mary Glindon, Labour MP for North Tyneside, unveiled a plaque to officially open the Outpatient Centre at Sir GB Hunter Memorial Hospital.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust invested around £500,000 redeveloping the hospital at The Green to create the centre which includes modern clinics and diagnostics suite.

The Trust’s specialist consultants go to the hospital to run clinics which saves large numbers of patients living in the Wallsend area travelling to a general hospital for an appointment.

And since the facility opened last summer, there have been more than 1,500  appointments held at the centre.

To build on the success of the facility, the Trust has just completed the next phase of the development – installing state-of-the-art x-ray and ultrasound facilities. The department houses the Trust’s first digital equipment for plain film which gives patients an improved service quicker.

The development means that two more specialties – orthopaedics and rheumatology - can hold clinics in the centre because patients need to have a scan at the same time as their appointment.

Steve Russell, Trust executive director responsible for the development, said:

“The Outpatient Centre has proved to be a huge success and extremely popular with our patients. It delivers health services in the heart of the Wallsend community where our patients live and I am delighted that it has been officially opened by the area’s MP.

“We worked closely with our local GPs who told us that our patients wanted more services close to their homes and it is much more convenient for our patients for our specialist consultants to travel to them rather than asking them to come to us.

“I am delighted that the x-ray and ultrasound department has been completed which enables more specialties to run from the centre which will ultimately benefit more patients.”

Mrs Glindon said: “I was honoured to be asked to officially open this excellent facility. I am really impressed with the work the Trust has done to provide local people with such a fantastic up-to-date resource on their doorstep and I have heard many good reports of it from my constituents.

“I feel it is really important to support the work of the Health Service at a time when it faces the biggest changes since the inception of the welfare state”.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Colin Doig is one of the specialist consultants who holds clinics at the hospital. He said: “It’s excellent to be having clinics in the Wallsend community.

“We worked it out that there were around 3,000 attendances to cardiology at North Tyneside General Hospital from the Wallsend area in a year, so it makes sense for me to come to them instead.

“The clinic is much more convenient for people who would normally have had to travel to one of the main hospital sites.”

The range of service areas represented by clinics at the centre was decided after discussions with GPs. These include cardiology, Parkinson’s Disease, specialist musculoskeletal services, bariatric surgery, gastro-intestinal, respiratory, paediatric and elderly medicine and psychiatry of old age.

There are plans to bring gynaecology to the centre and a service which helps to prevent further falls among the elderly.

In addition to the clinics ran by consultants, there are sessions led by specialist nurses and other health professionals such as podiatrists and physiotherapists.

People who do not live in the Wallsend area have also benefited from the centre. The have chosen to receive their treatment there to take advantage of shorter waiting times.

Patients who live in Wallsend and the surrounding area who wish to use this local service should discuss appointments with their GP or consultant at their next outpatient appointment. All sessions are available through the NHS Choose and Book Service.