DUE to concerns that the current system could potentially put patients at risk, a new facility to sterilise medical equipment is planned for hospitals across Northumberland and North Tyneside.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has submitted a planning application to Northumberland County Council for a purpose-built centralised sterilisation service department next to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital at Cramlington.

The facility will be used to disinfect, inspect and sterilise equipment and devices which will be used during surgical and medical procedures.

The current service at the NHS trust is currently delivered from two separate, but jointly managed, departments on the North Tyneside and Wansbeck Hospital sites, but there are fears these units were no longer fit for purpose.

A planning statement from the trust said: “There is an urgent need for a new facility to replace the existing units due to the existing units being significantly ageing and frequently malfunctioning, which compromises delivery and efficiency delivery and efficiency of the service.

“There is a significant risk that the decontamination equipment is at risk of catastrophic failure which is documented as a very high risk on the NHS foundation trust business unit risk registers.”