New £2million joined-up endoscopy unit opens at South Tyneside District Hospital
A £2million project to bring together two parts of a hospital department and improve facilities for patients and staff has opened.
The endoscopy unit at South Tyneside District Hospital was located across two areas, but has now become a single unit.
This means patients can now be admitted to, treated in and discharged from the new facility.
The unit, located close to the hospital’s outpatients department, also provides improved facilities for staff as they continue to deliver their first class service.
An endoscopy is a procedure where organs are looked at using an endoscope, a long, thin, flexible tube that has a light and camera the end, with images relayed back to a screen.
Thousands of people have endoscopy procedures every year to help investigate symptoms and diagnose problems.
Helen Turnbull, divisional director for theatres and critical care at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “For patients, the main change they will see is that there will no longer be any need to leave the department for any aspect of their care.
“We do have patients who come back on a recurring basis and they will really see a difference, and it will be a much improved environment for them to visit.”
She added: “I am extremely grateful to all of those involved in the preparation for the launch of the new unit.
“It really has been a team effort, the endoscopy staff and the estates team have been incredible.
“They are an excellent team who provide a fantastic service.”
Both South Tyneside District and Sunderland Royal Hospital have endoscopy units and patients can chose to go to either for their appointment.
Sister Zoe Clapham, unit manager, said: “Patients have said they have had a really good experience when they have visited the new unit and we have got some really good feedback already.”
Consultant Arun Krishna said: “The difference it will make for patients is the experience, they have much more space, a good waiting area, and privacy and dignity around much better changing facilities.
“We are proud to say we have got these facilities in South Tyneside.
“We are excited to be able to say we have a high quality service and how have a high quality environment.”
Health chiefs said the new endoscopy unit is part of over £15million in wider investment into services at South Tyneside District Hospital.
The Trust also recently announced its intention to create a new £10million Integrated Diagnostic Centre, £2.5million investment into its Intensive Care Unit and £800,000 to create a new state of the art outpatients pharmacy with robotic dispenser.
However, campaigners remain unhappy with the overarching approach to the hospital since the South Tyneside and Sunderland trusts merged and the ‘Path to Excellence’ programme of changes began.
Members of the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign, backed by the borough’s two MPs, are unhappy at what they see as a ‘downgrading’ of services at the South Shields site.
This includes replacing the 24-hour Children’s A&E department with a nurse-led urgent care unit which closes overnight, and means life-threatening cases must go to Sunderland.