A major public consultation to gather views around the different ways some aspects of NHS hospital services could be arranged in South Tyneside and Sunderland starts this week and runs until the autumn.
Called ‘The Path to Excellence’, the public consultation will run for 14-and-a-half weeks until Sunday, October 15.
It will focus particularly on areas of hospital care which are delivered at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital including:
l Three options to improve stroke services, specifically hospital (acute) care and hospital-based rehabilitation services;
l Two options to improve maternity services (obstetrics), covering hospital-based birthing facilities i.e. where you would give birth to your baby and special care baby units and women’s services (gynaecology), covering inpatient surgery where you would need an overnight hospital stay;
l Two options to improve children and young people’s (paediatrics, urgent and emergency) services.
This period of consultation will include a series of public events and a range of ways for local people to get involved, find out more about the issues under consideration and to give their views.
Dr Ian Pattison, a local GP and chairman of NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is a very important opportunity for local people to hear directly from their own local doctors, nurses and therapists who are working in these services and understand the problems we face due to the way these particular services are currently arranged and how we think we can improve them.
“People care passionately about our NHS and we all have that in common.
“I hope that we can discuss these often complex issues together so we can make improvements that will have a real and lasting positive impact on people’s health outcomes.”
Ian Martin, Medical Director for City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said he understood that local people might be concerned when they hear of the need to make some changes to the way some local services are provided, and urged people to find out more before forming an opinion.
“We really hope that local people will take the opportunity to listen to the issues and think about the challenges we face locally and tell us how these potential changes may affect them or if they have ideas on how the proposals could be improved,” he said.
The Path to Excellence programme is led by a partnership of local NHS organisations including NHS South Tyneside CCG, NHS Sunderland CCG, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust – working together as the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Partnership.
Between them, they are responsible for commissioning (planning, choosing and buying) and delivering many of the major healthcare services across the area, including the healthcare services we talk about improving in these public consultation proposals.