Following the meeting of the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee for South Tyneside and Sunderland today, Dr David Hambleton has issued the statement below on behalf of NHS bodies in the two areas.
Find out more about the Path to Excellence proposals here.
Dr David Hambleton, chief executive officer at South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“We are really disappointed that local politicians feel that they cannot support these important changes to vulnerable services.
“We’ve been very clear from the start that these changes have been about taking steps to protect services that are vulnerable because of a severe shortage of skilled medical staff.
“We are at a loss to understand why it is that councillors feel that delaying these changes do not present a real risk to patient safety. This referral to the secretary of state for health will increase the risk that the NHS has to change services in a crisis situation, which is not good for staff or patients in the same way we had to at Christmas over special care baby unit and maternity services.
“We are confident that our consultation process was open and transparent, and the decisions about each of the services done for the right reasons based on evidence and we know that staff in these services have said they would like to get on with the changes and end the uncertainty.
“We would have wished to have the opportunity to address any particular concerns that elected members have, again it’s really disappointing that we have not been afforded this opportunity in order to do everything we can in the best interest of patients we serve.”