Reassurance over NHS service

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We were sorry to see a letter last week from an Echo reader who felt that NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was not being open with patients about breast services in Sunderland. We do very much understand patients’ concerns and would like to offer some reassurance about the future of the service.

In December last year, City Hospitals Sunderland made a decision, with the CCG’s full support, to temporarily suspend breast services in the city. This difficult decision was made in the interests of patient safety as the Trust is currently unable to provide a consultant-led service.

We are committed to developing the best possible service for local patients, so we are working together to commission a new service. This is a complex process and will take some time, and in the meantime the service is being provided on a temporary basis by other local trusts. Patients have a central role to play in helping us to commission the best possible service, which is why we have invited Sunderland residents who had been referred for surgery by their GP for any breast condition to share their views with us.

Over the past few months, we have gathered comments and views from over 100 patients, through surveys, focus groups and one-to-one interviews, and their feedback will help us to shape the service for the future.

A report from the engagement events will be presented to the CCG’s Quality, Safety and Risk Committee in October. The report, which will not contain any personal information, will subsequently be made public. We will then develop a formal service specification, with the aim of a new service being in place from 2016.

David Gallagher

Chief Officer

NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group