Union chiefs call to stop revamp of South Shields hospital services as trust hits targets

South Tyneside District Hospital
South Tyneside District Hospital

Union bosses say good performance figures at South Tyneside District Hospital should lead to a rethink of controversial revamp plans for key services.

Hospital bosses say while they are encouraged by the new NHS data, it is not directly related to their proposed Path to Excellence plan.

Waiting time performance data from NHS England show that South Tyneside NHS Trust has surpassed all of its targets in three key areas of service – A&E, cancer care, and planned operations & care.

The figures show that, in A&E the trust surpassed the 95% target of ensuring a patient is seen within four hours – hitting 97%.
For cancer care the trust beat the 85% target of ensuring people begin treatment within 62 days of urgent GP referral – hitting 88.9%.

For planned operations & care, the national target is 92% of patients waiting less than 18 weeks. The trust achieved 96.2%.

Unison bosses say these targets are a testament to the hard work of staff who are up against unprecedented pressures – with rising numbers of patients needing hospital care.

Gemma Taylor, Unison and Save South Tyneside Hospital co-ordinator, said: “A massive congratulations to the staff. Their hard work and commitment is reflected throughout our hospital and this shows how vital these services are for the people of South Tyneside.

“This is why it is so important for people to join the fight to stop the downgrading of services at South Tyneside District Hospital.”

Trust chiefs have stressed that the waiting time performance data is not directly related to the Path to Excellence consultation which seeks to plan strategically for the long-term.

The proposed service areas for change which are included in the Path to Excellence are stroke, obstetrics and gynaecology (including maternity) and emergency care for 

Dr Sean Fenwick, Director of Operations at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s encouraging to see that trusts right across the North East are still outperforming the rest of the country in relation to waiting times, and our results in South Tyneside remain well above the national average.

“This is testament to the hard work and dedication of all our staff, and I would like to thank everyone for their tremendous efforts every day in delivering compassionate care to our patients.

“As we head into winter all NHS services will see increased pressures, and our priority is to make sure we continue to deliver high quality patient care.”