Dr John Painter says “we want to be excellent at what we do”
Dr John Painter, Clinical Director for General Internal Medicine and Consultant Gastroenterologist at Sunderland Royal Hospital has spoken passionately about the shared ambition of clinical teams to offer the best care possible for patients across South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Talking about the challenges of an aging population and difficulties of delivering care with a stretched NHS workforce, he explains that in order for both South Tyneside and Sunderland hospitals to deliver the best care possible, they must adapt and change.
This is especially true for acute medicine services – the care provided to seriously ill patients who are admitted as emergencies, as both hospitals are now seeing an increasing number of older patients. These older patients have a number of complex needs which are likely to become greater and the hospitals need to work together to be able to deliver the best possible care in future.
Dr Painter went on to explain one of the challenges the hospitals face in their current setup “The number of patients presenting to hospital is increasing over time, in part related to the fact the population is getting more elderly and has more complex medical needs. Within that, we have to work within a set amount of resource be that financial or buildings and people.”
Dr Painter explained a second key challenge is making sure patients are seen by the right senior doctors faster so they can start treatment as soon as possible.
“We need to be able to see and assess patients and do appropriate medical investigations quickly in order to find those patients with a true medical emergency – this means we can start treatment sooner to give the best possible outcomes. Currently, this is difficult to deliver consistently across South Tyneside and Sunderland as there are two teams split across the two sites.” Dr Painter said.
To tackle this, both Trusts have to employ temporary ‘locum’ doctors to cover shortages which is very costly and means the opportunities to improve the quality of care are limited.
“The third challenge is making sure patients are in hospital for the right amount of time and that they are able to go home in a safe and timely fashion. This is important as it means hospitals are better able to deal with patients coming in who need specialist hospital-based care.
“If patients spend too long in hospital, it can sometimes have a detrimental effect on their care and it is actually safer for them to be back at home as soon as possible as long as it is at the right time.”
“Our ambition across South Tyneside and Sunderland is to give the best care possible to our patients in the most appropriate manner. We want to be valued by the local population and we now have a fantastic opportunity to shape health care in the best possible way for the future.”
The Path to Excellence gives everyone the chance to shape healthcare in the best possible way for our local population. Dr Painter encourages everyone to get involved and provide their feedback as the changes are for you and they need your input.
How to get involved
NHS leaders in South Tyneside and Sunderland want you to get involved to help shape the future of your local services.
To find out more about The Path to Excellence programme, including events, surveys and consultation, you can register with your area below:
It’s important that you provide your feedback during Phase Two of the Path to Excellence programme and share your views and ideas about how to improve NHS services locally.
You can also visit the Path to Excellence website here for up-to-date information, links to surveys and upcoming events.