Health workers in South Tyneside praised for dedication as pandemic 'hit them like a train'

Councillors have praised health bosses in the area for the way they have dealt with the impact of Covid-19, which has “hit them like a train”.
Services at South Tyneside District Hospital have been hit by the pandemic.Services at South Tyneside District Hospital have been hit by the pandemic.
Services at South Tyneside District Hospital have been hit by the pandemic.

However calls were also made to ensure medical and health services are kept in South Tyneside, and updates are provided on service recovery following the back log caused by the pandemic.

It came as the South Tyneside & Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust Quality Report 2021 went before the South Tyneside Overview and Scrutiny Coordinating and Call-In Committee this week.

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Cllr Robert Dix, committee chair, sympathised with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the trust, and everybody in the region over recent months.

He said: “The Covid restrictions that we’ve had for the past 16 months or so have had a detrimental effect on everybody, people in this room, people out in general in the street, I think it’s more so with the trust.

“With this being something relatively new to them, they can plan services, changes to services and tweaks to services in advance, but this is hitting all of a sudden like a train.

“I would like to know what the plans are for the next couple of years at least on what they’re planning to do to get rid of this backlog that’s built up.”

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Cllr John McCabe, Hebburn South representative, praised the work that the hospital trust does, but warned of the impact on residents if further services are moved out of South Tyneside.

He said: “At the end of the day, as a South Tyneside resident, I am in touch continually with people who are not at the rich end of the scale, they’re at the poorer end of the scale.

“How somebody in the area I represent can go from Hebburn to Sunderland without the financial back up and the transportation is beyond me.

“It’s becoming extremely difficult for people to access health services. And that’s not what the health service is about. We should be doing better.”

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Campaigners have been battling health chiefs for years over changes under the ‘Path to Excellence’ following the merger of South Tyneside and Sunderland’s NHS hospital trusts.

Cllr McCabe added: “I think the whole picture and the backdrop of what’s going on is an extremely poor outcome for the residents of South Tyneside.”

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