South Tyneside and Sunderland hospitals share future ambitions for clinical excellence and outstanding services

Thu 07th March 2019


Hospital teams in South Tyneside and Sunderland have shared their ambitions to create outstanding future services which offer the very highest quality of safe patient care and clinical excellence.

Following several months of work led by local doctors, nurses and therapy staff from both hospitals as part of Phase Two of the Path to Excellence programme, an ‘Updated Draft Case for Change’, outlining the future ambitions for hospital care, has now been published.

Taking on board over 9,000 views captured so far from staff, patients, the public and key stakeholders, the ‘Updated Draft Case for Change’ shares the early thinking and emerging ideas so far from hospital teams on ways to potentially solve the challenges facing the NHS and futureproof services for many generations to come.

In line with the recently published NHS Long Term Plan, the local NHS has set high aspirations for the future and is focussed on delivering the highest possible standards of clinical excellence all of the time, every time, for each and every person in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Working together to collectively serve both local populations, key highlights from the ‘Updated Draft Case for Change’ include shared ambitions to:

  • create a Centre of Surgical Excellence at South Tyneside District Hospital to help improve clinical outcomes and boost patient and staff experience by separating planned operations from emergency surgery
  • create a new Integrated Diagnostic and Imaging Centre* at South Tyneside District Hospital to help cope with the rising demand for diagnostic tests and scans which is growing at 10% per year
  • ensure continued 24/7 access to urgent or emergency care for both local populations in South Tyneside and Sunderland
  • provide better access to consultant-led care which is widely acknowledged to result in better clinical outcomes for patients and reduce the risk of death or disability
  • provide quick assessment for older people to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and improve support services for all patients seven days a week to aid recovery and reduce the length of hospital stays
  • reduce the cost of temporary staff by creating future hospital services which attract more permanent staff, offer the best clinical outcomes for patients and deliver high quality training experiences
  • provide more care closer to peoples’ homes when this is safe, sustainable and appropriate to do so. In the past year, over 1,500 appointments have been delivered in South Tyneside, rather than Sunderland, for South Tyneside residents.


Healthcare leaders have once again emphasised that both South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital will continue to exist no matter what future service models evolve, stating both hospitals are of ‘equal strategic importance’.  Changes are needed however so that both hospitals can work much more effectively together to serve both populations and achieve outstanding clinical excellence.

The ‘Updated Draft Case for Change’ also makes it very clear that capital investment will be required for significant transformational change to take place.  This will be a critical factor in deciding the level of change possible and which potential ideas from hospital teams are likely to be taken forward for full public consultation later this year.

Throughout March, the local NHS is embarking on a further period of engagement to actively seek views from staff, patient groups and wider stakeholders on what is important to local people, and why,  when accessing hospital care.  Working together with Healthwatch South Tyneside and Healthwatch Sunderland, a series of drop-in roadshows will take place over the coming weeks as follows:


DateTime Location
Friday 8 March10am – 2pmCleadon Park Primary Care Centre
Friday 8 March9am – 11amMonkwearmouth Health Centre
Saturday 9 March9am – 5pmSunderland Market Place
Monday 11 March9am – 5pmSouth Shields Market Place
Monday 11 March9.30am – 11.30amBunny Hill Primary Care Centre
Wednesday 13 March10am – 2pmHebburn Central
Thursday 14 March10am – 2pmFlagg Court Primary Care
>Tuesday 19 March9am – 11amPallion Health Centre
Wednesday 20 March10am – 2pmBoldon Asda
Thursday 21 March8.30am – 10.30amGrindon Lane Primary Care Centre
Thursday 21 March10am – 4pmSunderland Asda
Friday 22 March10am – 12 noonHoughton Primary Care Centre
Saturday 23 March9am – 5pmSunderland Market Place
Monday 25 March9am – 5pmSouth Shields High Street
Monday 25 March10am – 12 noonWashington Primary Care Centre
Tuesday 26 March10am – 2pmAlexander’s restaurant, South Tyneside District Hospital
Tuesday 26 March9am – 5pmJarrow Town Centre
Wednesday 27 March9am – 5pmHebburn Town Centre
 Wednesday 27 March9.30am – 11.30amSpringwell Health Centre
Wednesday 27 March2pm – 4pmMain Entrance, Sunderland Royal Hospital
Wednesday 27 March10am – 2pmSouth Shields Asda
Thursday 28 March10am – 2pmMain Outpatients, Palmer Community Hospital
Friday 29  March10am – 12 noonSunderland Eye Infirmary


People will be able to find out more about why hospital services must change, hear about the ‘Updated Draft Case for Change’ and complete a short survey.  The NHS is encouraging as many people as possible to get involved and share their views.  An online survey and new video animation are also available online at for those who cannot attend a drop-in roadshow.

Staff working in South Tyneside and Sunderland hospitals will also have the opportunity to feedback their views during dedicated staff engagement events taking place at the end of March.  Healthcare leaders will also attend a series of key stakeholder meetings.

Dr Shaz Wahid, Medical Director at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and clinical lead for the Path to Excellence programme, said: “Our teams have been working hard over the past year and we have now reached a point where we are able to share our early thinking on how we might be able to solve some of the difficult challenges facing local hospital services.

“Our frontline staff are living and breathing these challenges on a daily basis.   They see first-hand the impact of workforce pressures and growing demands.  By working together across both hospitals to pool our expertise and resources, we know we can create much more resilience and offer much improved staff and patient experiences and clinical outcomes.

“Our teams have collectively set very high ambitions for the future and we now look forward to talking with staff, as well as with wider stakeholders, in the weeks ahead.  Fundamental in achieving our future ambitions will be the level of capital investment available to us and whilst we do not have a definitive answer on this yet, we continue to push and explore all possible options to enable positive changes to take place.”

Dr Matthew Walmsley, local South Tyneside GP and chair of NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Working together across South Tyneside and Sunderland we are striving to achieve clinical excellence for our patients and this does require thinking differently if we are to truly embrace the challenges and opportunities ahead of us.

“It is very encouraging to see such ambitious thinking so far and as a local NHS system, we are now entering into a period of further reflection and engagement with our staff, patients and the public and remain fully transparent in our thinking.  This is the opportunity for everybody to shape the ‘working ideas’ that our hospital teams have come up with so far and help develop any future scenarios to take forward to a full public consultation later this year.”

Dr Ian Pattison, local Sunderland GP and chair of NHS Sunderland CCG said:  “By publishing our ‘Updated Draft Case for Change’, we want to be completely transparent on the current thinking coming from our hospital teams and give people the opportunity to influence any future ideas that could eventually form part of a formal public consultation later in 2019.

“Thousands of people have already given their views since we published our initial Draft Case for Change in July 2018.  This is now another important opportunity for local people to get involved and give us their feedback on what is important to them when accessing local hospital services.

“I would actively encourage people to read and consider the ‘working ideas’ for hospital services so far and let us know any thoughts or ideas you may have. We look forward to hearing feedback which will be taken on board and considered as this process moves forward.”

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