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November 12, 2009 10:20 PM

Newcastle residents requiring emergency medical treatment face being rushed by ambulance to a hospital near Cramlington under plans approved by health bosses.

Instead of going to hospitals in Newcastle, people may be taken to a new hospital being built in Northumberland.

The decision by the NHS North of Tyne could see thousands of residents living in Gosforth, Kingston Park, Hazlerigg, Brunswick and Dinnington taken to Cramlington in an emergency. And so far none of them have been consulted about the move.

Ron Beadle, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle North, has launched a campaign with other Liberal Democrats to reverse the decision.

"It is quite wrong that gravely ill patients should in an emergency be rushed by ambulance to Cramlington instead of being taken to their nearest hospital in Newcastle," Ron Beadle said.

"Residents I have spoken with in the north of Newcastle are really angry at this announcement.

"They don't want to be treated in Northumberland - they want to be treated in their local hospital."

Mr Beadle, who is fighting to win Newcastle North from Labour at the next General Election, said there were also transport issues to consider, which appear to have been overlooked by NHS North of Tyne.

"How does a Newcastle pensioner, who does not drive, get to a hospital near Cramlington easily to visit a loved one?" he asked.

"Most residents in the north of the city can at least get a bus to the Freeman or the RVI."

Under the proposals any patient being transferred from Cramlington to another hospital might go to hospitals in North Tyneside, Wansbeck or other parts of Northumberland.

"If Newcastle residents must be treated in Cramlington in the first instance, why can't they then be transferred to a hospital in Newcastle?,"said Ron Beadle.

The new accident and emergency hospital is being built off the A19, close to the Moor Farm roundabout.

The Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is opposing the plans, citing the close proximity of the new hospital to the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

The Trust also said the new hospital threatened development of the Great North Children's Hospital at the RVI because of proposals for paediatric care at Cramlington.

The £100 million Great North Children's Hospital is due for completion in spring of next year and will be centre of excellence for the North East.

Councillor Liz Langfield, Executive Member for Adult Care and Health at Newcastle City Council, said: "It would be an absolute disaster if the new hospital at Cramlington undermined this flagship project before it even opens.

"Of course we support anything that will improve the health of our neighbours in Northumberland but his should not at the detriment of people in Newcastle.

"The fact that these decisions are being taken by an unelected and unaccountable body, without offering the opportunity for full comment on the detail of the proposals, is a disgrace."