PART of Sunderland’s X-ray services have been moved as demolition work starts on a hospital site.
X-ray facilities will no longer be provided at Ryhope General Hospital as the bulldozers move in to start knocking down buildings to make way for a £52million, 122-bed metal health hospital.
As revealed in Saturday’s Echo, work is to start on pulling down the hospital this week with the new building to open in summer 2014.
A City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said: “City Hospitals Sunderland does not own the site but does provide X-ray services from it.
“As a result of the demolition we will have to move these services to Houghton Primary Care Centre.
“The transfer will need to take place sooner than planned due to the nature of the demolition work.
“In the interest of patient safety, City Hospitals has taken the difficult decision to close the X-ray facility at Ryhope.
“We apologise for any inconvenience. However, we have taken this decision to minimise any potential risk to patients and staff.”
The affected service is Open Access X-ray, which is when GPs ask patients to attend for an X-ray with no need to book an appointment.
Patients can still have X-rays carried out at Monkwearmouth or at Primary Care Centres in Grindon Lane, Bunnyhill and Washington.
From next Monday, there will also be new X-ray facilities opened at Houghton Primary Care Trust.
The Warfarin/Anticoagulation clinics at Ryhope General Hospital are not affected, as they operate from a different part of the site.
The spokeswoman added: “While we recognise that this may increase travel time for some patients, a travel survey carried out by the Primary Care Trust suggests that the majority of patients using the Ryhope X-ray facility would have a reduced travel time to Houghton Primary Care Centre.”
A primary care centre is to open in Seaham next May and will also run an Open Access X-ray service.