Patients in the borough will be able to return to the comfort of their own homes as quickly as possible, thanks to new plans from South Tyneside District Hospital.
The hospital has officially opened its new discharge lounge, which has been so it is now situated near to the main entrance.
The new area aims to make the transition from hospital to home as smooth as possible.
It frees up much-needed beds, enabling more patients who require acute care to access the right services at the right time.
The new location makes it easier for relatives and carers to pick up their loved ones and they can take advantage of the free 20-minute drop-off/pick-up period allowed before having to pay for parking.
When patients are well enough for discharge and all the necessary arrangements have been made for them to return home, they can be transferred from the wards to the safe and comfortable environment of the discharge lounge, which is staffed by nurses and healthcare assistants.
There, they can wait for any medication and to be collected by their families, or for other transport.
The discharge process is managed by an integrated discharge team, which comprises experienced nurses and therapists, South Tyneside Council social care staff, and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust mental health staff.
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust Chairman Neil Mundy said: “I am certain that our new discharge lounge, with its convenient location and comfortable surroundings, will be a tremendous asset.
“It will help to improve patient flow not only during the winter months, but throughout the year.”