Published on: 13 October 2021

Thanking staff at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust for their amazing efforts during the COVID-19 was the resounding message that came out of the Trust’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The public meeting, which was held virtually with the Trust’s Board of Governors, Senior Management Team, staff and members of the public reflected on a difficult past year at the Trust and looked forward to a series of new investments.

Chief Executive, Ken Bremner MBE took a series of opportunities during the virtual meeting to thank Trust staff for the dedication they have shown and the care and compassion they have shown patients during what was described as an ‘unprecedented’ time for the organisation.

Mr Bremner closed the meeting with a final thank you to his team and added: “Our final words must go to our staff who are the heart of our organisation. No one role is more important than another and I include my own role as Chief Executive in that.

“I’m extremely grateful to all our staff and on behalf of the board and executive team, can I thank each and every one of them.”

He acknowledged the toll that COVID-19 had taken on staff at the Trust professionally, emotionally and personally and the fact many had lost loved ones to the virus.

It was noted colleagues were thanked for their work through an additional day’s leave and a £150 thank you from the Trust, while a personalised letter, print, pin badge and car sticker was sent to the home of all members of staff.

The Trust’s Chairman John Anderson also paid tribute to staff and the board, saying: “2020/2021 has been a challenge like no other.”

Despite the pressures faced during the last year, the Trust has continued to push on with developments plans, ensuring its services are fit for the future, while the meeting also noted a series of achievements.

These included:

  • The launch of the Trust’s COVID-19 vaccination programme to protect its staff was praised for its “excellent efficiency”
  • Gaining Level 7 HIMSS, which means the Trust one of the most digitally advanced organisations across the NHS
  • Plans to create a new £36 million state-of-the-art Eye Hospital in Sunderland city centre thanks to a partnership with Sunderland City Council
  • Confirmation of a new £10 million Integrated Diagnostic Centre at South Tyneside District Hospital
  • The unveiling of the new £2 million endoscopy unit, also based at its South Shields hospital site
  • Relocation of the outpatient pharmacy at South Tyneside District Hospital, with the £800,000 project featuring a new dispensing robot
  • Announcement of £2.5 million investment into the Intensive Care Unit at South Tyneside District Hospital.

The meeting also outlined the package of health and wellbeing support made available to staff throughout the pandemic, including help with emergency childcare and the launch of Thrive, a new psychological and emotional wellbeing service dedicated to staff.

It was announced at the meeting that Chairman, John Anderson and Non-Executive Director, David Barnes will step down from the Trust’s Board next year at the end of their current term of office.

They were both thanked by Ken for their outstanding support and years of service. The full papers for the meeting can be found via: