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Health care comes under the spotlight

ROBUST DISCUSSIONS ... Dr James Gordon, NHS South Tyneside CCGs clinical director for mental health.

ROBUST DISCUSSIONS ... Dr James Gordon, NHS South Tyneside CCGs clinical director for mental health.

THE future of health care in South Tyneside is to come under public scrutiny next week.

People in the borough have been invited to tell health experts what they think is right and wrong with services locally at a public meeting on Thursday, February 27.

NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is holding a Local Engagement Board meeting, where people can feed back their views and experiences with the aim of improving the quality of both health and social care.

It is to be staged in the Living Waters Church in St Jude’s Terrace, Rekendyke, South Shields, from 1pm to 3.30pm.

People will also be able to hear an update on plans for a major shake-up in mental health services in the borough.

A consultation has been ongoing looking at the future of the Bede Wing, based in the grounds of South Tyneside District Hospital.

Also being discussed is the long-term viability of ward 18 at the hospital, in Harton Lane, South Shields, where elderly patients with psychiatric problems are treated, and The Leas rehabilitation ward, run by Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Trust (NTW).

The changes are part of a drive to provide more and better services in the community for adults with mental health needs.

The plan is for services to be transferred to the new Hopewood Park mental health hospital, being built in Ryhope, Sunderland, which is replacing the city’s old Cherry Knowle Hospital.

At Thursday’s meeting people will also have the opportunity to ask questions and meet representatives of the CCG.

Dr James Gordon, NHS South Tyneside CCG’s clinical director for mental health, said: “NHS organisations have a duty to involve and consult whenever they propose a change to services, and these are slightly different to how local authorities consult and I recognise that these different terminologies may cause confusion.

“As NHS bodies are not elected, we must ensure that we are having robust, open discussions with the public on proposed service changes.

“Before we make any changes we need to hold a period of formal public consultation, and explore a number of questions with local people, especially with the people who use these services, their families and carers, local organisations and with other healthcare providers, including NHS trusts.”

At the council’s People Select Committee last month the committee was assured there would be no compulsory staff redundancies as a result of the proposed re-location to Wearside.

But as part of his submission, borough council leader Iain Malcolm expressed the view that the exercise was not a “consultation” – as he believes a decision had already been made to close the facilities at the district hospital.

Anyone wishing to attend next Thursday’s meeting is asked to contact Jenna Easton on 283 1903, or e-mail jenna.easton@sotw.nhs.uk

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul

 

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