Number of covid patients at South Tyneside hospital is currently double the April peak after surge in cases

A surge in Covid-19 cases at South Tyneside District Hospital means medical staff are now dealing with more than double the number of patients now than at the start of the pandemic.

More than 100 patients currently being treated at the hospital, in Harton Lane, have tested positive for the virus.

Now trust healthcare leaders are appealing for public support as the South Tynside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital, which are both operated by the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, manage a surge in Covid-19 cases which is putting significant pressures on services.

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Across the two hospitals, the trust is now caring for the same number of patients as it was at the height of the pandemic in April with over 200 people currently in hospital with confirmed Covid-19.

South Tyneside District Hospital treating more than 100 Covid patients - more than double the number at the start of the pandemic

NHS bosses are extremely concerned that Covid-19 is being brought into hospital and spread due to complacency creeping in and people ignoring the vital rules that are in place to keep patients and staff safe.

NHS staff at the Trust’s hospitals have also had to endure unacceptable behaviour when asking people to wear facemasks.

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The Trust is now urgently reminding people:

· Facemasks must be worn at all times within hospital

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· Visiting* to all adult inpatient wards remains suspended and patients must not leave ward areas to meet family members anywhere on the hospital site

· Patients attending the Emergency Department should do so alone

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· Patients attending outpatient appointments, arriving for tests or scans, or coming into hospital for planned care should come alone

· Abuse of any kind against NHS staff will not be tolerated and action will be taken as necessary

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Dr Shaz Wahid, Executive Medical Director at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: “In recent weeks we’ve become increasingly concerned at the number of family members coming onto our hospital sites, without wearing a face covering, to drop off personal items for their loved ones, as well as the number of patients leaving wards to meet family members outside who are not adhering to social distancing rules.

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“Our busy frontline staff are trying their very best to manage this but sadly it too often results in very poor behaviour and verbal abuse which is unacceptable.

"Our staff have worked tirelessly to keep everyone safe throughout the pandemic, but we need patients and the public to keep playing their part too. There is simply no room for any complacency now and we need everyone to do their bit.

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The trust is reminding people not to attend hospital if they are confirmed Covid-19 positive or have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate and to call the ward manager if they do need to drop something off for their loved ones.

Dr Wahid added: “It is more vital than ever that we pull together to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and protect our most vulnerable people and of course our NHS services as we head into Christmas and the festive period.”

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The Trust has a number of measures in place to help people stay connected with loved ones in hospital including virtual visiting with iPads available on all wards and a #SendingLove scheme.

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