A major NHS change programme to create outstanding future hospital services as part of the ‘Path to Excellence’ clinical transformation programme is asking local community and voluntary organisations with experience of community transport to get involved.
In autumn 2021, healthcare leaders published a further updated draft case for change (September 2021) which builds on work carried out by the surgical teams at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.
The surgical teams are focused on improving services for adults who need surgery at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Most recently they have been busy fine tuning ‘working ideas’ to make sure any additional learning from COVID-19 is factored into the plans before a formal public consultation is launched later this year.
The working ideas developed mean that some patients would need to travel to a different hospital for their surgery.
Since 2019, the Trust has had a successful staff hopper bus in place which transports staff between the two hospitals in South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Now the programme is actively exploring what cost effective solutions could potentially put in place for patients and families.
As part of planning for public consultation, the local NHS would like to invite third sector and interest groups who have experience of community transport to share their views on how patients could be supported.
The ideas and information gathered would be used to develop transport solutions for people who would need extra help to get to hospital in the future.
Dr Shaz Wahid, Executive Medical Director at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We know that local access to services is very important. We have been very open that working ideas developed mean that some patients would need to travel to a different hospital for their surgery. Making changes to the way surgery services are arranged would allow our clinical teams to provide better care.
“We know people don’t want to travel further unless they have to and we are committed to minimising the travel impact of any future changes.”
“We know that there is lots of expertise in the community and voluntary sector which is why we would very much welcome their thoughts on how we can progress developing transport solutions.”
Already the Path to Excellence has heard a wide range of views, with over 17,000 responses from people who have attended a meeting or event, responded via social media such as a like, share, view or a comment.
So that groups can find out more about the programme and what is involved, we are inviting people to attend an information session on 8th March 1-2.30
If you would like to attend the information session and are part of the community and voluntary sector, register your interest here.