OFFICIALS from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust visited a town council after concerns were raised about the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington.

Executive medical director Jeremy Rushmer and chief operating officer Helen Ray took questions from councillors at the May meeting.

Coun. Jennifer McGee raised concerns after hearing from members of the public about failed discharges, resulting in readmissions. Mr Rushmer said: “Because we are seeing more people and sending more people home, we are going to get more re-admissions.”

Mr Rushmer said, in relation to waiting times, that doctors will see those who need medical attention most urgently first, meaning there may sometimes be people waiting over the four hour target, which he said was not an issue specific to Northumberland.

Coun. McGee said: “I have got to say your staff are brilliant, the doctors work extremely hard, and especially the nurses, the majority are absolutely doing the job they are meant to be doing but I have got to say they are under a great deal of stress.”

Mr Rushmer added that the trust was always recruiting staff but there was a workforce issue across the country, with the trust currently running at a nurse vacancy rate of around three per cent – lower than elsewhere in the country.