How services are currently delivered in South Tyneside and Sunderland
A wide range of children and young people’s healthcare (urgent and emergency paediatrics) services are offered across both areas, with more specialist care centred at Sunderland Royal Hospital. This consultation relates specifically to hospital service provision. Community based services will continue to be provided in both South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Why do children and young people’s healthcare (urgent and emergency paediatrics) services need to change?
The clinical teams in children and young people’s urgent and emergency care services provide excellent quality care in many areas, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to work within existing resources.
Our services face a number of challenges:
- we are meeting many NHS quality standards, but we need to ensure we have the correct staffing levels to cover all services all of the time
- a national shortage of qualified consultants and other senior medical staff means we are struggling to recruit the number of doctors we
need to provide a sustainable and safe service, particularly in South Tyneside
- both areas are spending a lot of money on short term locum doctors to fill staffing gaps at very short notice
- to meet national standards we need to work towards delivering seven day hospital service access and specialist services in emergency hospitals
If we want to give local children and young people the best quality care and secure the future of services across both areas we need to make some changes.
Developing the children and young people’s healthcare (urgent and emergency paediatrics) services options
When considering potential changes to services all solutions had to meet a number of criteria. The options we developed further had to:
- deliver safe, high-quality care
- support service sustainability and resilience
- be affordable
- be achievable within the next couple of years
A number of different clinical options were put forward and there was a difference of opinion amongst the teams.
Children’s inpatient services at Sunderland Royal Hospital and the Adult Emergency Department service at South Tyneside would remain unchanged in both options.
Children’s outpatient clinics would also continue to be provided as locally as possible, with the continued provision of children’s day surgery such as dental surgery at both hospital sites. The proposals offer the opportunity to provide more specialised children and young people’s outpatient clinics in South Tyneside. We are confident that both options could create a safe and sustainable solution for all routine, urgent and emergency care across South Tyneside and Sunderland whilst keeping services local, where possible.
Useful website links
Facing the Future: Standards for Acute General Paediatrics Services, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2015.
Facing the Future for Child Health, Royal College of General Practitioners and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2015.
Standards for Short Stay Paediatric Assessment Units, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2017.
Defining staffing levels for children and young people’s services, Royal College of Nursing, 2013.
Standards for the Care of Critically Ill Children, Paediatric Intensive Care Society, 2012.