Doctor’s pledge that both Sunderland hospitals and South Tyneside will remain open as work continues on service transformation

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The doctor at the heart of hospital service transformations in Sunderland and South Tyneside has assured patients that both sites have a bright future, stating there is no intention for either hospital to close.

As part of ongoing engagement with the public to help explain why the services at Sunderland Royal and South Tyneside District hospitals must change, Dr Shahid Wahid, Medical Director at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and clinical lead for the Path to Excellence programme, has spoken passionately about the NHS and why there has to be changes to the way they work in the future.

Phase Two of Path to Excellence covers the following areas of hospital-based care:

*Emergency care and acute medicine – the care provided when patients arrive at the Emergency Department or need emergency admission to hospital

*Emergency surgery - the care provided when patients are admitted to hospital as an emergency and require an immediate operation

*Planned care (including surgery and outpatients) – the care provided when patients are referred to hospital by their GP for a test, scan, treatment or operation

Clinical design teams working together across South Tyneside and Sunderland are currently developing ideas in these key areas as part of their work to create the best possible hospital services for the future.

Talking about the challenges the hospitals face, Dr Wahid said: “We need to work together for us to continue to deliver the best possible care.

NHS staff working at Sunderland

NHS staff working at Sunderland

“The challenges we have are particularly around workforce with gaps in certain services which we are having to fill with temporary staff, as well as ask our own staff to work over and above what they currently do – this is not good for their health and wellbeing.

“We really need to make our teams more resilient so that we can keep pace with advances in medicine.

“People we care for are also living longer with more complex conditions and the traditional way services have been set up in the past will not allow us to sustain or keep up with the complexity of our patients.”

He also explained why Path to Excellence is only one small part of the bigger picture of how health and care services need to transform.

The doctor added: “We need to make sure that we work with our GPs, community teams and local authorities around prevention making sure our population remains healthy.

Dr Shahid Wahid, Medical Director at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and clinical lead for the Path to Excellence programme

Dr Shahid Wahid, Medical Director at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and clinical lead for the Path to Excellence programme

“If people develop conditions, we need to manage them appropriately to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.

“By focusing on delivering the right care, at the right time, by the right professional, this will also help us reduce the amount of money we spend.”

Dr Wahid wants the local community and hospitals to work together to deliver the best possible care during a time when the NHS faces many challenges, including staffing and funding.

Having worked in South Tyneside for 15 years and in the North East for his entire 28-year medical career, he reiterated that both South Tyneside and Sunderland hospitals will not close, but he called upon the public for help to ensure the best possible services are developed for the future.

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.

Nurse with patient

Nurse with patient

To find out more about The Path to Excellence programme, including events, surveys and consultation, you can register with your area below:

Register and find out more in South Tyneside

Register and find out more in Sunderland

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.