Published on: 23 July 2019

Thousands of South Tyneside patients with arthritis who require regular blood tests to ensure they are getting the right treatment for their condition can now access the service locally instead of having to travel to Sunderland.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has introduced a new phlebotomy (blood testing) clinic at South Tyneside District Hospital. Previously, patients had to travel to the Rheumatology department’s clinics at Sunderland Royal Hospital or Monkwearmouth Hospital - sometimes as frequently as once every two weeks - to have their blood taken.

There are many forms of arthritis and, in many cases, medication is used to ease symptoms and slow the disease down, helping patients to live their lives to the full. However, often these drugs require regular monitoring through blood testing.

Rheumatology Manager Sam Thompson said: “The aim of our new South Tyneside phlebotomy clinic is to give local patients the option of having the necessary blood tests done in a location that is convenient for them and which minimises travel.” 

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s Rheumatology department serves 450,000 patients in the South Tyneside, Sunderland and Durham areas.  There are phlebotomy clinics at Durham Treatment Centre and The Galleries Health Centre in Washington, as well as at Sunderland Royal and South Tyneside District hospitals.

Patients requiring information about any of the clinics can ring 01915656256, extn 47568/47250/47561.  

This latest development is in line with the Trust’s aim to ensure that patients can have as much of their planned care as locally as possible. Thousands of South Tyneside patients who previously attended outpatient appointments in Sunderland are now receiving their care closer to home thanks to new clinics in departments such as Ophthalmology, Renal and Rheumatology. Opportunities to develop further outpatient clinics are also being looked at in departments such as Cardiology, Oncology, Oral and Maxillofacial and Urology.