Transport concerns to be looked at as part of hospital shake-up

Consultation is under way over three areas of services run by South Tyneside District Hospital, seen here, and Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Consultation is under way over three areas of services run by South Tyneside District Hospital, seen here, and Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Health chiefs have vowed to work with travel bosses over transport concerns raised in the feedback it received over future services at South Tyneside Hospital.

A public consultation into the way South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital could deliver services going forward has now closed.

Through the consultation to date the public have helped us understand the risks in relation to travel and transport and what might be needed to mitigate some of these risks.

Matt Brown

It centred on changes to services including stroke, obstetrics and gynaecology (including maternity) and emergency care for children.

During 18 public events held as part of the Path to Excellence consultation since July, one of the major concerns raised by those attending centred on travel and transport.

Matt Brown, director of operations of NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning, said he was pleased people took the time to consider the consultation issues and feed back their views.

He said: “Through the consultation to date the public have helped us understand the risks in relation to travel and transport and what might be needed to mitigate some of these risks.

“As a result, we’ve been able to collate their issues and concerns as well as comments and ideas for solutions.

“This has been extremely helpful to start the wider discussion with those organisations directly involved in travel and transport.”

In response, at a recent stakeholder meeting, the NHS and travel and transport organisations vowed to work together to tackle the issue, with two new working groups created to look at the problems.

One group will look specifically at NHS issues such as clinical transport, ambulances, car parking, while a second will focus on public transport such as bus, Metro, interchanges and ticketing.

It is after concerns were raised over travel costs, access to parking on hospital sites and additional pressure on ambulance services.

Mr Brown added: “On behalf of the NHS organisations I would like to thank everyone who attended the event.

“There was a real positive feeling in the room and a clear willingness from everyone to work together in the best interests of the local communities we serve.”

All feedback from the public consultation will be analysed into themes and published in early December in order to ensure the public have an opportunity to hear it before it is used to inform the final decisions.

The final decision will be made by the two clinical commissioning groups at their governing bodies held in public in early 2018.

For more information about the Path to Excellence visit pathtoexcellence.org.uk