Published on: 30 June 2021

Healthcare leaders have confirmed important changes to children’s A&E services in South Tyneside will take place over summer. On Wednesday 4 August 2021, children’s A&E services at South Tyneside District Hospital will change to become a new nurse-led urgent care service. 

‘South Tyneside Urgent Care for Children’ will continue to be open from 8am until 10pm every day, based in exactly the same location at South Tyneside District Hospital.  The service will continue to see and treat the vast majority of children who attend hospital with urgent, but not life threatening, problems.

Staffed by highly experienced nurse practitioners who have trained and worked in emergency care over many years, the new nurse-led urgent care service in South Tyneside will treat children from birth, up to the age of 16, for a range of injuries and illnesses which are urgent but not life threatening.   This includes, for example:

  • Broken bones
  • Children with mild breathing problems
  • Common childhood infections in the chest, ears or throat
  • Children who are being sick or have diarrhoea
  • Cuts and open wounds that need closing
  • Minor burns
  • Minor bumps or head injuries
  • Sprained ankles or strained muscles.

The children’s nursing team at South Tyneside District Hospital are highly qualified healthcare professionals.  They do many of the things that traditionally would have been done by a doctor in the past such as organising diagnostic tests, scans or x-rays, interpreting the results and beginning treatment. 

As part of the change, children with any major, life threatening problems will be cared for at Sunderland Royal Hospital, as they already are overnight.  Any children who arrive in South Tyneside and need more specialist care, will be safely transferred.

A widespread public awareness and information campaign will begin from today to ensure local people in South Tyneside are aware of the new nurse-led urgent care service for children which will come into operation on Wednesday 4 August.  This will include targeted information for schools and parents or carers of young children across the Borough. 

Clinical Director and Consultant Paediatrician at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Lorna Gillespie, said:  “This is an important change to our children’s A&E service in South Tyneside and we want to make sure people are aware that we will be moving to a nurse-led urgent care service.

“The paediatric nursing team at South Tyneside District Hospital really are experts in their field and already look after the vast majority of children  who attend hospital with an urgent problem. Although we will continue to see and treat the vast majority of children locally in South Tyneside, it is important that people understand the new service and where to go if they are worried about their child. 

“As always, we would remind people to call NHS 111 if they need urgent medical advice about their child and, of course, dial 999 in a life threatening emergency.

“Our team has been fantastic in helping us prepare for this change and will, without doubt, continue to provide a vital service for children in South Tyneside for many years to come.”

Dr Neil O’Brien, Accountable Officer for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham, said “This is an important milestone in the transformation of our local hospital services and means the future of paediatric services in South Tyneside is now secure given the very fragile medical staffing challenges endured for many years. 

“Now, more than ever, we must continue to focus on building strong and resilient services for the future and cannot lose sight of the challenges facing the NHS and pressures on our workforce, which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic."

“I would like to thank all those involved, in particular the children’s nursing team in South Tyneside, for their hard work and commitment to delivering this change which will offer a fantastic new service to the local population.”

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust is working closely with all health and care partners, including local GPs and the North East Ambulance Services to ensure a smooth transition to the new nurse-led urgent care service.  To find out more about the changes visit


Media contact:

Emma Taylor 
Communications and Involvement Manager 
Mobile: 07385 401 138 | Email:

Notes to editors:
The new nurse-led urgent care service for children marks the final step in Phase One of the Path to Excellence programme following public consultation in 2017.  For more information visit: