South Tynesiders have fair access to urgent NHS services reveals report

South Tyneside District Hospital.
South Tyneside District Hospital.
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Patients still have good access to urgent and emergency care services in South Tyneside following the closure of Jarrow Walk-in Centre, a new report reveals.

The South Tyneside Urgent and Emergency Care Equity Audit reviewed the use of healthcare in the borough to identify whether any groups or areas faced difficulties in using services.

The review was carried out following the relocation of Jarrow Walk-In Centre last year to the Urgent Care Hub, which is now based at South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields.

There were fears that people living in the Jarrow and Hebburn areas would find it more difficult to access treatment.

The group considered ambulances, A&E, GPs, NHS 111, out-of-hours GPs, 999 and other services.

Dr Matthew Walmsley, a local GP and chairman of the South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This study has taken a detailed look at a number of concerns, to see whether the new arrangements mean people face difficulties in using services because of their age, background or where they live.

“After careful study of all these factors, the group has found that services are arranged fairly.

“We will always take people’s concerns seriously but it’s important that we make service decisions based on clear clinical evidence.”

Coun Tracey Dixon, the council’s lead member for independence and wellbeing, said: “This report suggests that people have fair access to urgent and emergency care and this is to be welcomed.

“However, we are not complacent and will continue to listen to local people and seek to ensure that people can access the right health professional for their needs in a timely, convenient and straight-forward way.”

The report found no major issues with access to services, but did highlight some areas for further study.

These included slight variations in ambulance response times in some wards, and in NHS 111 responses, though these remained within recommended guidelines.