“No room for complacency now” trust appeals for public support as Covid-19 cases rise

Thu 17th December 2020


Healthcare leaders at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust are appealing for public support as the Trust manages a surge in Covid-19 cases which is putting significant pressures on hospital services.

Across South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital the Trust is now caring for the same number of patients as it was at the height of the pandemic in April with over 200 people currently in hospital with confirmed Covid-19.

Cases at South Tyneside District Hospital have increased dramatically over the past two weeks with over 100 people now in hospital with confirmed Covid-19, more than double the number of patients the hospital was caring for at the start of the pandemic.

NHS bosses are extremely concerned that Covid-19 is being brought into hospital and spread due to complacency creeping in and people ignoring the vital rules that are in place to keep patients and staff safe.  NHS staff at the Trust’s hospitals have also had to endure unacceptable behaviour when asking people to wear facemasks.

The Trust is now urgently reminding people:

  • Facemasks must be worn at all times within hospital
  • Visiting* to all adult inpatient wards remains suspended and patients must not leave ward areas to meet family members anywhere on the hospital site
  • Patients attending the Emergency Department should do so alone
  • Patients attending outpatient appointments, arriving for tests or scans, or coming into hospital for planned care should come alone
  • Abuse of any kind against NHS staff will not be tolerated and action will be taken as necessary

Dr Shaz Wahid, Executive Medical Director at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have seen a big rise in confirmed Covid-19 cases, particularly on our South Tyneside site and are worried that Covid is being unintentionally brought into the hospital as people are not following the strict rules we have in place.  We need the public’s support now more than ever.

“In recent weeks we’ve become increasingly concerned at the number of family members coming onto our hospital sites, without wearing a face covering, to drop off personal items for their loved ones, as well as the number of patients leaving wards to meet family members outside who are not adhering to social distancing rules.

“Our busy frontline staff are trying their very best to manage this but sadly it too often results in very poor behaviour and verbal abuse which is unacceptable.   Our staff have worked tirelessly to keep everyone safe throughout the pandemic, but we need patients and the public to keep playing their part too.  There is simply no room for any complacency now and we need everyone to do their bit.

The Trust is reminding people:

  • Not to attend hospital if they are confirmed Covid-19 positive or have been told by NHS Test and Trace to stay at home and self-isolate
  • To call and talk to the ward manager if they do need to drop something off for their loved ones

Dr Wahid added: “We know this is an incredibly difficult time for everyone and especially if you have a loved one in hospital at Christmas time but that doesn’t mean we can forget the rules.  They are just as important now as they were at the start of the pandemic.  It is more vital than ever that we pull together to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and protect our most vulnerable people and of course our NHS services as we head into Christmas and the festive period.”

The Trust has a number of measures in place to help people stay connected with loved ones in hospital including virtual visiting with iPads available on all wards and a #SendingLove scheme which allows family and friends to send messages and photos into the Trust to be hand delivered to patients every day.

Full details of the scheme can be found on the Trust website

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