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Seizing the future

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The Options

Options on which we are seeking your views

The consultation proposes two options — Option A and Option B — to address the challenges the Trust faces, and to provide a better quality of service to patients, and a sustainable future for local hospitals.

Option A

Redevelop Bishop Auckland General Hospital as a planned centre for supporting and complementing Darlington Memorial Hospital and University Hospital of North Durham – side by side with local health services and 24 hour urgent care.

Concentrate main acute services at Darlington Memorial and University Hospital.

Option B

This is the same as Option A with additional services planned at Bishop Auckland, to enhance its urgent care provision, and further increase its role as a planned care centre.

Chester-le-Street Community Hospital and Shotley Bridge Community Hospital would remain unchanged – although, as part of both options there is a proposal to increase the number of operations carried out at Shotley Bridge’s day surgery unit.

Preferred option

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust’s preferred option is Option B. This option enhances access at Bishop Auckland for medical patients, and strengthens its role as a planned care centre, providing a new and important service which will significantly improve the care of patients needing rehabilitation following acute illness.

Click here to see how these options would affect the way in which services across all three main sites would be provided if either option were to be approved at the conclusion of this public consultation.

Option A – planned care site with local health services (Bishop Auckland General Hospital):

Trust-wide services:

Local services:

Option B – planned care site (Bishop Auckland General Hospital).

As Option A, but with the following additional services:

Local services

Trust-wide services

Option A and B – acute sites (Darlington Memorial Hospital and University Hospital of North Durham)

Services on these sites would include:

Under the principle of ‘centralised services where necessary, localised where possible’, all outpatient clinics and diagnostic tests will still be provided at all three sites.

Under both options, community hospital services will continue at Chester-le-Street Community Hospital and Shotley Bridge Community Hospital, and the Trust is working with NHS County Durham on the future development of these services. To maintain local access, both options also propose an increase in day surgery at Shotley Bridge, securing the future of the day case unit.

Bishop Auckland as the planned care centre

NHS County Durham and the Trust have agreed to consult on Bishop Auckland taking on the role of the planned care centre. This follows extensive analysis, and the reasons are explained below.

Bishop Auckland is well positioned to be a centre for planned care serving the wider population in County Durham and Darlington. The hospital already serves the Dales and parts of Sedgefield and, as it is located reasonably centrally, it is at an equal distance from Durham and Darlington.

It is also a new and up to date facility, offering a pleasant environment – an important consideration at a time when patients are able to choose where they are treated.

The NCAT review of Seizing the Future supported Bishop Auckland as the planned care site. This was on the basis that it has the least number of emergency admissions, does not have emergency surgery, cannot sustain critical care and paediatric services are fragile.

Capital costs

Expansion of any of the three hospital sites to enable them to absorb the workload from another site would require a significant expansion of facilities to accommodate the increased workload.

The Trust has examined the costs for making each of the three current acute sites into a planned care site.

As Bishop Auckland is the smallest of the Trust’s main hospitals, it would require major construction work to extend the hospital buildings. The level of investment required, alongside the timescale it would take for new buildings to be planned, built and commissioned for use, rules Bishop Auckland out as a possible acute site.

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