Published on: 24 October 2019

Patients’ experience of emergency care in South Tyneside and Sunderland has improved in several areas, according to a national survey.

The results of the 2018 NHS Urgent and Emergency Care Survey showed that local people were significantly happier with aspects of their care in the emergency departments at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital, compared to the previous 2016 survey.

Both departments received higher scores from patients around overall experience, with South Tyneside going from 8.2 to 8.6 out of 10 and Sunderland from 7.9 to 8.4.

Other areas which scored higher included:

  • The patient being given enough time to discuss their condition with the doctor of nurse
  • The patient given enough privacy when being examined or treated
  • The patient’s opinion of the cleanliness of the department

The findings regarding the Urgent Care Hub at South Tyneside District Hospital and Pallion Urgent Care Centre at Sunderland Royal were in line with other NHS trusts throughout the country.

Dr Sean Fenwick, Director of Operations for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We value all feedback so it is very encouraging to hear that patients feel their experience of care in our emergency departments has improved. This achievement is testament to the amazing efforts of our emergency care teams who, despite the increasing pressures we are experiencing, continue to provide safe, outstanding care, day in, day out. We need support from the public to enable us to continue to do this and would ask that they only come to our emergency departments if they have a serious or life-threatening emergency.”

Both urgent and emergency care services play a part in supporting patients to receive the right care, from the right person, as quickly as possible. Emergency departments are for serious, life-threatening emergencies which require immediate, intensive treatment. Urgent care is for an illness or injury that requires urgent attention but is not a life-threatening situation.

The advice is: think first and use your NHS wisely by choosing the right service for your needs.

  • Self-care and visiting a pharmacist are options in the first instance for ailments such as coughs and colds, upset stomachs and general aches and pains.
  • If you have an urgent health need but are not sure if you need to come to the emergency department, call NHS 111. You’ll speak to highly trained advisors, supported by healthcare professionals, who will assess your symptoms and direct you to the best care.
  • GPs are providing more convenient appointment times for patients outside the standard working day. For opening times for GPs and pharmacists, go to  
  • Antibiotics don’t work for viruses – they can only treat bacterial infections. Illnesses like diarrhoea, vomiting, sore throats and colds are usually caused by a virus and you should normally feel better over a few days to a week. Symptoms can be treated at home with over-the-counter medicines.
  • If it is life-threatening or an emergency, call 999.