Hospital bosses press ahead with operations shake-up plan

Hospital bosses are pressing ahead with a shake-up that would see Sunderland Royal Hospital carry out all emergency operations in Sunderland and South Tyneside.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 9:10 am
Dr Shaz Wahid

The move – which has been under discussion at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust since 2016 – would mean all emergency operations and some planned procedures taking place in the city hospital.

Sunderland Royal and South Tyneside District Hospital would continue to provide outpatient services as well as diagnostic tests and scans.

The Trust says it’s surgical teams have been ‘fine tuning working ideas’ to make sure any additional learning from COVID-19 is factored into the plans before a formal public consultation on the issue is launched later this year.

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Sunderland Royal Hospital

It says the impact of the pandemic, and a need for stringent infection control measures, has made the reasons for changing surgical services ‘even more, not less, urgent’ as part of it’s ‘Path to Excellence’ project.

Hospital bosses say they want to ensure surgical services are arranged in a way that minimises any such disruption in future and helps the NHS reduce waiting lists and avoid further delays or cancellations for people who need planned operations.

Dr Shaz Wahid, the Trust’s executive medical director, said: “There is no doubt that COVID-19 has increased the pressures on our surgical services and we cannot lose sight of the vital improvements we still need to make.

“We know that organising surgery with emergency operations at one hospital and planned operations at another is a tried and tested model. Many other parts of the NHS have done it with great success.

“This would mean some patients would need to travel to a different hospital and we want to be upfront, open and honest about that. But we also believe there are many benefits that would outweigh the downside of this.”

He added: “Most importantly, all other appointments would still take place locally and it is only the surgical procedure that may take place at a different hospital in future, everything else would continue as it is now.”

To find out more about the updated Draft Case for Change and how to get involved and give views, go to https://pathtoexcellence.org.uk/publications/case-for-change/