A surgeon has outlined ambitious plans to create the best possible surgical services for people living in South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Steve Green is one of those involved in improving services for patients who are having a planned operation, or need emergency surgery, at both Sunderland Royal and South Tyneside District hospitals.
Mr Green trained at both hospitals after leaving medical school, and has worked at Sunderland Royal for 25 years as a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon.
He said: “We’ve been working with the surgeons in South Tyneside about how best we can improve our services and provide the highest quality care for the people of both South Tyneside and Sunderland in a sustainable way for the future.
“Our ambition is to work together to create larger clinical, nursing and therapy teams, improve resilience in the workforce and build care around patient needs.
“I am very optimistic about the future – we have an exciting opportunity to work together to create an improved pathway of care and higher quality, in a safe and sustainable way.”
The surgeon also reinforced Dr Shahid Wahid’s statement that the Path to Excellence programme is not about closing South Tyneside or Sunderland hospital, but about planning how to work together to improve surgical services.
Mr Green added: “There will always be hospitals in South Tyneside and Sunderland. There is no intention to close hospitals.
“This is about improving services and bringing specialist services closer to local communities.”
Speaking about the challenges outlined in the draft Case for Change document for Phase Two of the Path to Excellence programme, Mr Green outlines three big challenges and why the NHS needs to plan for the future.
He said: “Technology and medicine are advancing all the time. The large majority of planned surgical care is now delivered as a day case procedure and as part of an enhanced recovery programme.
“This is better for the patient, more productive for the healthcare system and delivers far better results. As part of this process we are discussing how we can develop the best day case surgery and enhanced recovery programmes for patients across South Tyneside and Sunderland.
“The second challenge we face is planning for the expected increase in demand for surgical services and an increasingly ageing population with more complex healthcare needs.
“We need to rethink the way we deliver surgical care to the people of South Tyneside and Sunderland so we can maintain the high quality of care sustainably into the future.
“The third and probably biggest challenge we face is workforce planning. Recruitment and retention is becoming increasingly challenging particularly in terms of the provision of emergency on-call rotas.
“Our ambition is aimed at delivering high-quality care and improving things for the people of South Tyneside and Sunderland for the future.
“We have a really unique opportunity in this process to create something special and improve the patient experience.”
How to get involved
NHS leaders in South Tyneside and Sunderland want you to get involved in helping to shape the future of your local services.
To find out more about The Path to Excellence programme, including events, surveys and further consultation information, you can register with your area below:
It’s important that you provide your feedback during Phase Two of the Path to Excellence programme and share your views and ideas about how to improve NHS services locally.
You can also visit the Path to Excellence website here for up-to-date information, links to surveys and upcoming events.