Sunderland Royal Hospital’s new emergency department will finally open tomorrow after the original date was postponed.
The emergency department, formerly known as A&E, was due to open on May 18, but a cyber attack on NHS computer systems meant it had to be put back.
The department is located at the front of the hospital and can be accessed from Kayll or Chester Road.
There will be two separate entrances; one for adult emergencies and one for children’s emergencies while ambulance arrivals will have a dedicated entrance.
From 6am tomorrow, anyone with serious or life-threatening conditions should come to the new emergency department for treatment, or call 999.
Anthony Watson, matron and project lead for Emergency Care, said: “We would like to thank the public for their patience during the development of our new Emergency Department.
“Despite the geographical split of the department during the transition phase, patients and staff have been absolutely fantastic.
“By having one dedicated space moving forward, we will be able to greatly improve patient flow and treat those with serious or life-threatening conditions more efficiently.”
He added: “The concept of one accident and emergency department is changing.
“We now have urgent care centres across the city, which can provide things like X-rays, which before have only been available in hospitals.
“The emergency department is a very busy unit, generally seeing around 105,000 patients every year. For this reason we need to appeal to the public and ask them to consider whether they really need emergency care, or if the NHS 111 service, urgent care centre, GP or pharmacy would be a more appropriate option.
“We will always have to prioritise who we see in terms of who requires the most urgent care.
“This includes people with significant injury and blood loss, chest pain, breathing difficulties and suspected stroke.
“Anyone coming into the ED with minor illness or injury is more likely to have a much longer wait, or to be referred to another NHS service.
“We would urge you to choose well and help us to dedicate our time and resources to the people who really need it the most.
“If you’re not sure you can call NHS 111 for free and they will assess your symptoms and direct you to the right medical care.”
Urgent care centres on Wearside remain at Pallion Health Centre and Washington, Bunny Hill and Houghton primary care centres.
They are open Monday to Friday from 10am to 10pm and Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays from 8am to 10pm.