Health bosses hail NHS staff as they look back on year of Covid-19 in Sunderland and South Tyneside

NHS staff in Sunderland and South Tyneside have been praised for their work on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic one year on since the health trust admitted its first patient with the virus.

By Sophie Brownson
Friday, 5th March 2021, 12:00 am

Marion Jolliff, 63, from Pennywell, was in a coma for three weeks after she was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital on March 5, 2020.

She tested positive for coronavirus and spent more than four weeks in hospital undergoing intensive treatment.

Thankfully, Marion proved to be a fighter and her condition improved to the point where she was able to return home on Tuesday, April 7.

Ken Bremner, Chief Executive of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

But it has been a long 12-month fight against the virus for Trust staff, who have worked tirelessly to care for more than 3,000 patients with Covid in its hospitals.

Ken Bremner, Chief Executive of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said the pandemic has brought some of the biggest challenges the NHS has ever faced.

“The last 12 months have undoubtedly presented us with some of the biggest challenges ever faced in the history of the NHS,” he said.

"From admitting our first covid patient a year ago, to treating the thousands of patients that were to follow, it has been a momentous effort from everyone at the trust and our wider NHS colleagues.

ITU staff at South Tyneside District Hospital. Dr Christian Frey (front), Dr Riccardo Scano (right), ICCU coordinator Lousie Rowe (left).

"Despite the challenges, our hospital teams, community services and support functions have always strived to do the absolute best for all of our patients and provide safe and high quality care to those who need it most.“I am immensely proud to work alongside such a fantastic team at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and would like to thank each and every one of my colleagues for everything they have done and continue to do.”

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Tom Hall, Director of Public Health at South Tyneside Council, also praised the ‘incredible’ efforts of NHS staff as he urged people to continue playing their part to help stop the spread of the virus.

The health boss stressed that ‘we are not done yet with Covid-19’ as he called on the public to follow the Government health guidance.

He said: “The past year has been one of the most challenging the majority of us have ever known, with the pandemic forcing us all to make drastic changes to the ways we live our lives.

“The fantastic efforts of our NHS staff and other key workers has been incredible and it is vital that we keep playing our part to help curb the spread of the virus.

"The roll out of the vaccine is a tremendous achievement but we are not done yet with Covid-19.

"It is vital that people continue to socially distance, wear a face covering, wash their hands thoroughly and regularly and follow the guidance.”

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