WORK has started on a new £32million health and education hub to serve Northumberland.

A ground-breaking ceremony has taken place for the new Northumbria Health and Care Academy, on the site of the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington.

It is hoped the new centre will open in autumn 2023 and is part of Northumbria Trust's strategy to support the ongoing training and career development of its staff.

The 8,000 square metre development features a training centre of excellence for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals, conference facilities, office space, meeting rooms, and a drive-through coffee shop and wellbeing walking trail.

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Marion Dickson, Northumbria Healthcare's executive director for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals, said: "I am delighted that construction is now underway on our Health and Care Academy, because it really demonstrates our commitment to looking after our people and helping them to develop and grow both professionally and personally.

"Recruitment and retention are ongoing challenges for the NHS and the centre of excellence will also help us to develop the workforce of the future.

"In this way, it showcases how we are trying to lead from the front on a regional and national level in healthcare provision.

"In addition, the academy highlights our efforts to drive wider social, educational and economic benefits in our communities," she added.