Published on: 12 January 2021

As the weekly Clap for Carers returns during the third national lockdown, healthcare bosses at Sunderland and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust are asking the public to show their continued support for the NHS, not by clapping, but by simply sticking to the rules.


The Trust, which is seeing similar numbers of COVID-19 positive patients across its two hospitals at South Tyneside and Sunderland as in the first wave, is urging the public to not come down to its hospital and community sites and clap, but instead follow Government advice to stay at home for all but essential journeys.


The NHS is facing a very busy winter period caring for patients with COVID-19, those coming in as emergencies and those coming in for planned care. Local Emergency (A&E) Departments are still seeing high numbers of people needing life-saving care and do not need further pressures from those falling or slipping on the ice after leaving their homes.


The advice remains the same. Stay at home as much as possible and if you need to go out wear a mask, wash your hands regularly and maintain a 2 metre distance from others at all times.


Medical Director, Shaz Wahid, said: “We are very grateful for all the ongoing support we have received from the public. The original clap for carers was a great weekly boost to our teams and brought the nation together in thanking our frontline workers for their amazing efforts during the pandemic. However, COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in our communities and we have a new strain which we know spreads faster than before. So we are asking the public to not come down to our hospitals sites and instead stay at home – this is the key way you can support key workers and also help to minimise the spread of the virus.


“Over the coming weeks and months we all just need to continue to do our bit and remember the basics. Wear a facemask, wash your hands regularly, maintain social distancing wherever possible and stay at home except for essentials, such as work or food shopping.


Our local NHS remains under significant pressure and we are doing all that we can to keep services going and safely care for everyone who needs us. We massively appreciate everything local people continue to do to support us and help raise our spirits at this very difficult time, but please don’t come out and clap – stay at home and follow the rules!”


The Trust is also urging families and friends of inpatients not to come down to meet patients anywhere on the hospital site – including outside.  Family and friends will not be allowed to enter the hospital to drop off things for loved ones unless there are exceptional circumstances and appropriate arrangements are made in advance with ward teams.


The Trust has a number of measures in place to help people stay connected with loved ones in hospital including virtual visiting with iPads available on all wards and a #SendingLove scheme which allows family and friends to send messages and photos into the Trust to be hand delivered to patients every day. Full details of the scheme can be found on our website