Hospital bosses still need to do more to safeguard youngsters in their care

South Tyneside District Hospital
South Tyneside District Hospital

Hospital bosses in South Tyneside have been told they must do better when it comes to safeguarding youngsters in their care.

Health watchdogs from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have rated South Tyneside District Hospital as still “requiring improvement” following an inspection.

Chief Executive Ken Bremner

Chief Executive Ken Bremner

The latest inspection follows a check last year, after which a warning notice was issued over the trust’s safeguarding children processes, procedures and practices as they did not meet the standards required to identify and protect children who may be at risk – youngsters who may self harm, have been exposed to alcohol or have social services involvement.

The report said there was also insufficient management oversight and governance of safeguarding children and young people.

The CQC now say that, while there have been improvements, work is still required to tighten up procedures - especially in the maternity, paediatrics and emergency departments.

Improvements include continuing to embed the new processes for good child safeguarding practice; ensuring effective peer review every four-six weeks, continuing to take action to mitigate risk in relation to named doctor provision within South Tyneside with continued support from named professionals working at City Hospitals Sunderland.

Whilst the CQC report is good news, we are absolutely focussed on continuing to ensure that our new safeguarding systems are fully embedded and that we create a positive culture which always looks after those who are most vulnerable and at risk.

Ken Bremner

Chief Executive of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust Ken Bremner said: “This is a very positive step forward in our improvement journey. “There has been a tremendous amount of hard work from staff at all levels to ensure our safeguarding arrangements are now up to high standards that we would all expect.

“Whilst the CQC report is good news, we are absolutely focussed on continuing to ensure that our new safeguarding systems are fully embedded and that we create a positive culture which always looks after those who are most vulnerable and at risk.”

Melanie Johnson, executive director of nursing and patient experience, has led the improvement programme.

She said: “We wholeheartedly welcome today’s findings and continue to work with all of our frontline teams to embed this very important agenda to keep our children and young people safe and protected from risk of harm.

“Everyone has a part to play in this work and I am very proud of the way our teams have responded over the past year to bring our processes to the right standards. We must, however, continue to keep focus on this important work as we strive to make further improvements across our organisation.”