Published on: 9 July 2021
South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust is keeping all of its current infection, prevention and control measures in place for the foreseeable future to protect its patients and staff as community infections continue to rise.
The Trust is asking the public to support their local hospital and community services in South Tyneside and Sunderland by continuing to wear a facemask, washing hands and keeping a social distance in all trust buildings.
Visiting restrictions will also remain in place to manage the number of people coming into hospital buildings. Patients should continue to attend appointments alone, unless they need a carer or are under 18 years old.
These important safety measures were put into place at the start of the pandemic to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable patients who are at much higher risk of serious illness.
The Care and Quality Commission (CQC) praised the Trust following a focused inspection in April 2021 recognising the ‘clear and effective’ infection, prevention and control processes in place. These measures have greatly helped the Trust to manage COVID-19 and continue to provide many of the non-urgent services that otherwise would have been postponed.
The Trust is the highest performing Trust in the region for cancer care and is above the regional average for A&E performance. This is despite seeing more people within its two emergency departments than before the pandemic. Teams across the Trust have been working to reduce the number of people waiting for their planned care and made major strides in May 2021, with 86% of patients waiting less than 18 weeks.
Dr Shaz Wahid, Medical Director at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our teams have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and make sure that we could not only provide urgent and essential services, but also continue to treat those waiting for more routine operations, tests and scans.
“We continually review what we have in place, but we know that our infection, prevention and control measures work. It’s vital that we continue to protect our patients, staff and services by doing things safely and not becoming complacent. COVID-19 is still with us, but as we move into our busy winter period we will also have flu and norovirus to deal with. Keeping our current measures in place gives us the best chance of continuing to safely treat these infections without impacting the huge efforts our teams have made to restore much of our non-urgent activity, such as planned operations, tests and scans.
“With COVID-19 infections on the rise in our local communities, we are urging the public to continue supporting us by wearing a mask, washing your hands and social distancing in all of our hospital and community buildings. Our priority now is to look at how we can continue to invest and innovate to further reduce waiting times, while protecting our patients and staff.”
Details on the safety measures in place can be found on the Trust website – www.stsft.nhs.uk.