A NURSING chief spoke of the “huge pressures” on health staff in today’s NHS as she visited Sunderland Royal Hospital.
The President of the Royal College of Nursing, Andrea Spyropoulos, met frontline workers as well as healthcare assistants.
Ms Spyropoulos was shown around the hospital trust’s headquarters and given a presentation by staff.
She was then shown the hospital’s integrated critical care and stroke units.
“For me, any of these visits are about hearing from frontline staff and how the health service is working.
“It’s always great for me, because sometimes if you just look at what is being said in the media or from the politicians, you get the impression that the health service is failing.
“But the evidence I see is that it is still doing a great job and it really re-energises me. If you look at the treatment for strokes and go back to when I first started as a nurse, it could be devastating for the long-term health of a person.
“Now though, through the care and support that is given, we are able to offer much better outcomes.”
As well as the tour of facilities, Ms Spyropoulos was also told about the hospital’s approach to community care and its partnership work with South Tyneside and Gateshead NHS foundation trusts.
Hospitals, and in particular accident and emergency departments, are under more pressure currently due to an increase in admissions during winter months.
The Echo reported last week that Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group has been given £1.11million to help reduce the numbers.
“There are huge pressures on frontline staff and they are constantly being asked to do more with less,” added Ms Spyropoulos.
“But they are pretty amazing and they rise to the challenge when asked.
“One of the most important things is the relationship between staff and patients, and I truly believe that it is stronger than ever.
“It is still a unique relationship.”
Joy Akehurst, the trust’s executive director of nursing and quality, said: “I am delighted to welcome Andrea to City Hospitals Sunderland to showcase both our facilities and our nursing and healthcare assistant team.
“City Hospitals Sunderland staff work hard to deliver high quality care to our patients.”