OVERNIGHT emergency child care is set to be restored at a South Tyneside hospital – four months after the service was withdrawn.
Youngsters have been unable to stay at South Tyneside District Hospital’s paediatric department in South Shields since June 29, because of high staff sickness levels.
Instead, those needing treatment after 10pm were transported to nearby hospitals in Sunderland, Gateshead and Newcastle.
Hospital bosses today apologised for the upheaval again, and say the service should be back up and running on Monday, October 21.
Helen Ray, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s chief operating officer, said: “We are extremely pleased to announce that we expect to be in a position to restore our overnight paediatric accident and emergency service at South Tyneside District Hospital on Monday, October 21.
“It was with great reluctance that we took the decision to temporarily restrict opening hours this summer.
“This was due to an unprecedented increase in sickness absence among key nursing staff with specialist paediatric skills.
“Happily, a number have returned to work and we anticipate we will be back to full strength in the next few weeks. This will enable us to reinstate the overnight service.”
Ms Ray said that, so far, only a very small number of youngsters have had to use the overnight service and disruption was kept to a minimum.
She added: “We do apologise for the disruption, and we would like to thank our own doctors and nurses, and colleagues in our neighbouring hospitals, who worked closely together to ensure the impact on local families was kept to a minimum.
“We look forward to once again providing a full, 24-hour A&E paediatric service for the benefit of the local community.”