Please note that we will be keeping our infection, prevention and control measures in place for the forseeable future. When you come into our hospitals buildings or community clinics you must continue to wear a face mask, keep a 2 metre distance from others wherever possible and wash or sanitise your hands regularly. This is to keep you, our patients and our staff safe.

OUR CURRENT VISITOR RESTRICTIONS

Due to the significant increase in COVID-19 cases we have made the difficult decision to suspend visiting to adult inpatient wards across South Tyneside District Hospital, Sunderland Royal Hospital and the Intermediate Care and Rehabilitation (ICAR) Unit based at Houghton Primary Care Centre as of January 1, 2022. Please see information below. Thank you for your support and co-operation.

Adult inpatient wards

  • Visiting to all adult inpatient wards at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital has been temporarily suspended as of Saturday January 1, 2022.  Exceptional circumstances, such as end-of-life visiting should be discussed with the nurse in charge
  • You can contact our switchboards on 0191 565 6256 (Sunderland Royal) and 0191 404 1110 (South Tyneside District Hospital) and ask to be put through to the ward, or direct lines to wards can be found here.


Children’s wards and neonatal

  • One parent is allowed to stay with a child on our children’s wards. There are no time restrictions.
  • Children (siblings etc) are not permitted on the wards at this time.
  • Both parents will have unrestricted visiting for babies in the high dependency unit on our neonatal ward. 
  • One parent is allowed unrestricted access to visit babies on the low dependency unit on our neonatal unit (two parents with twins). Both parents can have access together at set times and parents can swap over at any time, but this should be arranged in advance with the ward.


Emergency Departments

  • Please attend our Emergency Departments alone. The only exception to this is if you require a carer to accompany you.
  • One parent / carer can accompany children under the age of 18 years old.
  • You must wear a face mask and keep a social distance in our waiting rooms. Please follow this at all times. The only exemptions will apply to those with genuine medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask and children under 11.


Emergency Assessment Units

  • Any carers present at time of admission to support transfer may stay on the Emergency Admissions Unit for 15 mins only. 
  • All other visiting will be virtual. The Emergency Assessment Units have the technology to support this. Please call the unit to arrange your virtual visit.
  • Any exceptional visiting requirements can be discussed with the nurse in charge.


Maternity

  • Appointments and scans
    We continue to support mums-to-be to bring one partner/support person with them to scans, antenatal clinics and antenatal day unit appointments. Due to social distancing, those attending will only be able to stay during the appointment and will need to wait outside the building at all other times.
  • Birthing partners and your delivery
    One birthing partner continues to be allowed to support mums-to-be during assessment, induction of labour, labour and delivery. Please ensure that birthing partners come prepared with snacks and refreshments while they are in the delivery suite or midwifery-led birthing centre as they will be encouraged to remain on the department and not to leave.
  • Your stay on the ward
    We continue to support mums and mums-to-be to have one partner/support person with them for the duration of their stay on the ward. Mums and mums-to-be are asked to let staff know who the  partner/support person will be. 

To help us keep our mums and babies safe we ask:

  • A face covering / face mask is worn by you and your support person at all times, women are exempt when in labour.
  • That you and your support person take a home COVID-19 test before all hospital and community appointments and scans.
  • Your support person takes a home COVID-19 test prior to attending for supporting in labour. These are available for free at local pharmacies and test sites. Visit www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests for details.

Mums-to-be will be offered a hospital COVID-19 test upon:

  • Admission when in labour.
  • 48 hours prior to admission, if you’re attending hospital for a planned caesarean or induction.

Please note that all visitors MUST be fully vaccinated (two COVID-19 vaccinations, plus booster) and have taken a COVID-19 home test before visiting. We care for some of the sickest and most vulnerable people in our community and these restriction are in place to minimise the risk of COVID-19 to our patients and staff. If you have any questions, or are medically unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine please speak to the nurse in charge.


Outpatient appointments

  • Patients should continue to come alone to all outpatient appointments. The only exception to this is where a carer is required.
  • One parent / carer can accompany children under the age of 18 years old at their appointment.
  • You must wear a face mask and keep a social distance in our waiting rooms at all times. The only exemptions will apply to those with genuine medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask and children under 11.


Exceptional circumstances

We recognise there will be exceptional circumstances (for example patients who have dementia, delirium, learning disabilities and those patients receiving end of life care). Visiting options should be discussed with the nurse in charge.


Important information for all visitors (PLEASE READ)

  • You must not visit if you feel unwell in any way or if anyone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19. Please speak to the ward staff if you have any questions. 
  • You must be fully vaccinated (two COVID-19 vaccinations plus booster) before you visit (unless you are medically unable to do so). We also ask that you take a COVID-19 test at home before coming in to visit to protect our patients and staff.
  • You must wear a face covering or face mask when entering our Trust buildings. If you do not have one, you can get one from the hygiene stations at all entrances.
  • Please do not arrive before your allocated appointment time to allow for social distancing. Please keep a social distance from other visitors outside of our wards and use the buzzer when you arrive to let us know you are here.
  • You must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in our ward areas and as directed by our staff. This could be apron, face mask and gloves. If you fail to do this you will not be allowed on to the ward.
  • Please wash or sanitise your hands thoroughly when entering and exiting all buildings and again when entering and exiting our wards and clinic areas.
  • You will need to keep your face mask on until you leave the building where you should safely dispose of them in the dedicated bins provided.
  • If you fail to comply with any of the above you will not be allowed on to our wards.

Please note that our restaurants are currently closed to the public.

Information for Carers / Professional Support Workers

We recognise that in some situations carers may need to visit for longer periods of time and outside of normal visiting hours. Involving carers in a patient’s care is always encouraged so please speak to the nurse in charge who can arrange for you to provide additional support. Carers should be part of the same household or support the patient in a professional capacity and should be fully vaccinated (two COVID-19 vaccinations, plus booster) unless medically unable to receive the vaccine.

Important information for Carers

  • You must not visit if you feel unwell in any way or if anyone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19. Please speak to the ward staff if you have any questions.
  • We will ask you for some personal details on your arrival (name, address, telephone number). This is for test and trace purposes and must be provided. To view our privacy notice and how we use your information click here.
  • You must wear a face covering or face mask when entering our Trust buildings. If you do not have one, you can get one from the hygiene stations at all entrances.
  • You must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in our ward areas and as directed by our staff. This could be apron, face mask and gloves. If you fail to do this you will not be allowed on to the ward.
  • Please wash or sanitise your hands thoroughly when entering and exiting all buildings and again when entering and exiting our wards and clinic areas.
  • You will need to keep your face mask on until your leave the building where you should safely dispose of them in the dedicated bins provided.

What is coronavirus and should I be concerned?

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a high temperature, loss or change to sense of smell and taste and a new, continuous cough. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell.

Most people recover from the disease without needing special treatment. 

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. 
 

Find out the latest information about symptoms here. 

What can I do to reduce my risk of catching COVID-19?

There are things you can do to help stop germs like COVID-19 spreading:

  • always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel
  • wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds each time with soap and water or hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.  This is especially important to do after:
    • getting home or getting into work
    • blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
    • eating or handling food
    • using public transport. 
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands 
  • wear a face mask or face covering your nose and mouth in enclosed spaces, like our hospital buildings and community clinics.
  • stay 2 metres away from people not in your household wherever possible
  • do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms

Is hand sanitiser effective?

The best way to protect yourself from infections like COVID-19 is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time. If soap or water isn’t available and your hands are visibly clean, then sanitiser gel can be used. But proper hand washing is the most effective method and this should be your first choice.

Should I wear a face covering when visiting hospital or community clinics?

Our safety measures will remain in place for the forseeable future and you must wear a face mask or face covering when you attend our hospital or community clinics.

This is in line with national guidance that face coverings could help reduce the spread of COVID-19 from those suffering from the virus but not showing symptoms.

Face masks / face coverings should cover the mouth and nose.

More information can be found here.

Are the Trust’s hospitals open as normal?

Yes. Our hospitals are open as normal and we would ask that you continue to attend your appointments unless instructed otherwise. 

We have robust infection, prevention and control measures in place to keep our patients and staff safe. If you have any concerns about your appointment or coming into to our buildings, please contact us so we can discuss them with you.

What happens if I need to be admitted to hospital?

Patients can be reassured that their safety is our top priority and plans are in place across the Trust to safely care for any patients who are admitted to hospital and test positive for COVID-19.

Testing for COVID-19 is carried out in line with strict regulations and we have robust infection prevention and control procedures in place to protect our patients and staff.

If you're coming in for planned care or diagnostic tests, click here for more information. 
 

What are the changes to dental services?

Find out more about the changes to dental services in England from the 8th June below:

How to contact a dentist

Changes to dental services

What to expect

Process for registering a death during COVID-19 restrictions (Sunderland)

When someone dies, the death must be registered this must be in the district where it occurred. Patients who die in Sunderland Royal Hospital must be registered at Sunderland Civic Centre. Due to COVID 19 restrictions a number of changes to this process are now in place.

Following the death you will not be given any paper work (Medical Certificate of Cause of Death)in order to register the death. This process is now managed electronically by the bereavement office team.

Once the information has been received by the bereavement office, a member of the team will contact you and make arrangements with you to collect any personal belongings and valuable of the deceased. They will also advise you of the contact details of the civic centre to make an appointment to register the death.  

Registration of the death will take place over the telephone with a registrar from the civic centre. If you have any further questions about this process please don’t hesitate to contact us on:

Useful contacts

Sunderland Royal Hospital Bereavement office Telephone:0191 5699124

Email: bereavementservices@chsft.nhs.uk

Sunderland Civic Centre Telephone 0191 5205553

Email: registrars@sunderland.gov.uk

Process for registering a death during COVID 19 restrictions (South Tyneside)

When someone dies, the death must be registered this must be in the district where it occurred.

Patients who die in South Tyneside District Hospital the death must be registered at South Shields Registry Office. Due to COVID 19 restrictions a number of changes to this process are now in place.

Following the death you will not be given any paper work (Medical Certificate of Cause of Death) in order to register the death. This process is now managed by Patient Welfare team.

Staff on all Wards should inform the next of kin to contact the Patient Welfare Office after 10.00am where there contact details will be taken.   Once the paperwork has been received by Patient Welfare, a member of the team will contact you and make arrangements with you to collect any personal belongings and valuable of the deceased. They will also advise you of the contact details of the Registry Office to make an appointment to register the death.  

Registration of the death will take place over the telephone with a registrar from the Registry Office.

Useful contact numbers:

Patient Welfare: 0191 2024005

South Shields Registry Office: 0191 4246357

E-Mail: registrars@southtyneside.gov.uk