Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt visits Sunderland Royal Hospital to examine patient safety

Sunderland Royal Hospital care consultant Chris Phillips with secretary of state for health Jeremy Hunt.
Sunderland Royal Hospital care consultant Chris Phillips with secretary of state for health Jeremy Hunt.

Government health secretary Jeremy Hunt paid a visit to Sunderland Royal Hospital as he spoke with staff about the importance of patient safety.

He met with nurses and doctors at the Royal’s Education Centre and spoke to many of them before being shown the site’s new Emergency Department.

During the visit, he spoke with representatives of South Tyneside and Sunderland Healthcare Group.

A consultation is still ongoing as to possible hospital changes at the Royal and South Tyneside District Hospital.

“This is a really good trust, which is doing fantastic work in terms of patient safety,” said Mr Hunt.

“But we can always do more, so we’ve had a really good discussion about what they are doing to prevent falls and what can be done to improve that.

“We’ve also had a really good discussion about workforce issues such as training and other areas.”

Mr Hunt was accompanied by Dr Mike Durkin, who recently retired from his role as National Director of Patient Safety at NHS Improvement, and spoke with staff about patient safety in the NHS.

He also heard about work going on across both hospitals to continue to improve the quality of care being delivered for patients and held a Q and A session with staff.

The Secretary of State for Health had a tour of the new emergency department at the Royal and heard from staff about new technology, which bosses say is helping to improve patient safety.

The new emergency department is now completely paper-free at the point of care and uses technology that can move around with the patient, meaning clinical teams always have the most up-to-date clinical information.

Only last week, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust was announced as a ‘fast follower’ in the ‘global digital exemplar’ programme, which will see millions invested to improve the digital systems in place at South Tyneside District Hospital to improve patient care and safety and learn from Sunderland.

Ken Bremner, chief executive of City Hospitals Sunderland and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trusts, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Health to visit our staff in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

“Patient safety is at the absolute heart of everything we do every day across both of our organisations and it was great to share the work we are doing locally to continue to improve and deliver the highest quality of safe patient care to the people we serve.”