Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Uncertainly Clouds Plan for Hospital; Dunston Hill Has Special Significance for Second World War Veterans

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Uncertainly Clouds Plan for Hospital; Dunston Hill Has Special Significance for Second World War Veterans

Article excerpt

Byline: LIZ WALKER

IT was the end of an era today as a former soldier's hospital closed its doors for the last time.

Now uncertainty surrounds the future of the 2.45 acre Dunston Hill Hospital site off Whickham Highway, Gateshead, with speculation it could be sold off for more housing sparking local concern. The hospital has provided palliative care and mental health services for more than 50 years.

Originally established as a War Pensioner Hospital in 1928, it was controlled by the Ministry of Pensions until 1953 when it passed to the Ministry of Health, but it was not absorbed into the National Health Service until 1956.

The hospital has a special significance for veterans as many were treated there during the Second World War.

Plaques in the memorial garden paid tribute to more than 30 former Far East prisoners of war from the region and the site was used for VJ Day services.

Due to many of the facilities coming to the end of their economic lives, the decision was taken to move staff and the remaining 16 patients to new facilities at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Chief Executive Ian Renwick said: "We are pleased the work on the reprovision of services from Dunston Hill Hospital to various sites at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital has been completed with all inpatients transferred before May 17.

"Whilst the quality of nursing care at Dunston Hill has always been excellent, we have been concerned regarding the quality of the building and have been working towards this for many years.

"The relocation of services will vastly improve the environment for our patients, many of whom are with us for long periods of time.

"Patients and staff are delighted at the quality of their new facilities.

"The memorial garden for the war veterans, which was previously located at Dunston Hill Hospital, has been relocated to St Nicholas' Church in Dunston, where it has been re-dedicated by Reverend Atkinson. …

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