Deadline looms in South Tyneside hospital shake-up plan

The consultation deadline is looming for  three areas of services run by South Tyneside District Hospital
The consultation deadline is looming for three areas of services run by South Tyneside District Hospital

The deadline is looming for people in South Tyneside to make their views known over a plan to shake up hospital services in the borough.

NHS chiefs are reminding people that a 14-and-a-half week public consultation will end at midnight on Sunday, October 15, on the ‘Path to Excellence’ document which could see some services moved from South Tyneside District Hospital.

Dr Matthew Walmsley

Dr Matthew Walmsley

The plan is being proposed by a partnership of local NHS organisations - including NHS South Tyneside CCG, NHS Sunderland CCG, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust – working together as the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Partnership.

Between them, they are responsible for commissioning - planning, choosing, buying and delivering - major healthcare services across the area.

Campaigners say the plans will amount to a “downgrading” of its services - with stroke, children’s accident and emergency, maternity and woman’s services - are all subject to change at the hospital in Harton Lane, South Shields.

They have raised concerns about the risk to health of people who will face extra travel time to Sunderland as well as difficulties for their loved ones.

Dr Matthew Walmsley, GP chairman for NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, said it was very important that the NHS heard from as many people as possible in order to influence the outcome of the consultation.

He said: “We have also written directly to thousands of patients who have had recent experience of NHS services we are consulting upon, so if you have received a survey we are very grateful if you could respond.”

During the consultation, around 400 people have attended 18 public events, there have been 464 paper or on-line survey returns, 800 street interviews, and around 20 focus groups held.

Dr Walmsley added: “This final week gives those people who have been contemplating their response to make sure we receive it, so it can be included in the final feedback analysis for the clinical commissioning groups to consider.”

Dr Ian Pattison, NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, said groups or organisations could also submit a response to the consultation.

The final decisions will be made by the two clinical commissioning groups early in 2018.

There has been a number of ways to ensure your views are included.

These include:

*Accessing the survey online or request a paper copy at the relevant contact source detailed below.

Website: www.pathtoexcellence.org

Email: nhs.excellence@nhs.net

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Twitter: @NHSexcellence