PARENTS and medics have been given more time to have their say on care for poorly children in Sunderland.
Patients, doctors and the public were asked to take part in a three-month consultation on proposed changes to services.
Under the plans, inpatient care for children in Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead would be provided at Sunderland Royal Hospital or the Great North Children’s Hospital at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle.
Also, 24-hour assessment units would be set up at Sunderland, Gateshead and South Tyneside hospitals, with the work of the children’s community nursing team extended to offer support to acutely -sick children in their own homes.
Meetings have been held in Sunderland into how childhood illnesses can be best treated.
It followed the news that children with chronic or long-term illnesses such as asthma and diabetes could be given more community-based treatment, meaning they will spend less time in hospital.
Dr David Hambleton, director of commissioning development for NHS South of Tyne and Wear, said he and his colleagues wanted to hear the views of Wearsiders on the important issue.
He said: “We are currently holding a public consultation about our proposed new model of care for acutely-sick children and young people and we would urge people to give us their views.
“We have extended the deadline for responses from members of the public to April 30 to ensure everyone has the opportunity to give their views.
“We are committed to improving local services for children and young people.
“We would like to hear local people’s views on our plan which will ensure that as many children as possible are able to receive expert paediatric care close to home.”
Some people in South Tyneside have already opposed the plans and have handed over hundreds of postcards to South Shields MP David Miliband to show their unhappiness at the proposals.
The consultation period was originally due to finish at the end of March.
Those wanting to contribute to the consultation can fill in a questionnaire at www.sotw.nhs.uk/yoursay/consultations/ or call 529 7374 for a copy to be sent out to them.