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

We have eased some of our current restrictions around visiting to enable you to see loved ones and friends safely while they are being cared for in our hospitals.

Please note that we would encourage all visitors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (if medically able to do so) as we know this helps reduce the risk of spreading the virus to those who are more vulnerable.

Visitor Guidance and restrictions

Visitors will not be permitted for anyone with the following:

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 or other illness, such as sickness and diarrhoea.
  • A positive home (lateral flow) test or PCR test result
  • Household contacts of those with COVID-19

Adult inpatient wards

  • Each patient will be allowed two named visitors per day (subject to appointment availability).
  • All visits must be booked in advance via our wards. You can contact our switchboards on 0191 5656256 (Sunderland Royal) and 0191 4041110 (South Tyneside District Hospital) and ask to be put through to the ward, or direct lines to wards can be found here. Please only ring to book appointment after 10am.
  • Please note that we are not allowing visitors on our COVID-19 wards. In exceptional circumstances, such as end of life or for essential care, visiting should be discussed with the nurse in charge.
  • Children (under 16 years of age) are not permitted on the wards at this time.

Children’s wards and neonatal

  • Both parents / carers are welcome 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 / carers will have unrestricted visiting for babies in the high dependency unit on our neonatal ward. 
  • Both parents / carers can have unrestricted access to visit babies on the low dependency unit on our neonatal unit.

Emergency Departments / Urgent Care

  • Patients can be accompanied in our Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Centre by one other person.
  • Two parents / carers can accompany children under the age of 16 years old.
  • You must wear a face mask and keep a social distance wherever possible 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

  • We continue to support mums-to-be to bring one partner / support person with them to scans, antenatal clinics and antenatal day unit appointments. Partners and those supporting our mums-to-be are welcome to stay within the department, but are asked the wear a face mask at all times (unless medically exempt).
  • We are now welcoming two birthing partners to accompany mums-to-be during labour and delivery. Your birthing partners are advised to bring snacks and refreshments with them as they will be encouraged to stay within the unit.
  • 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. Please let our team know who this will be.
  • We are welcoming two visitors on our postnatal ward (this can include a sibling). Visiting will be for an hour and will need to be arranged in advance with the ward.

Outpatient appointments

  • Patients can be accompanied by one person at all outpatient appointments.
  • Two parents / carers can accompany children under the age of 16 years old at their appointment.
  • You must wear a face mask and keep a social distance wherever possible 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 and learning disabilities and patients receiving end of life care). Options for supporting patients outside of visiting appointments 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 book a time slot with the ward prior to visiting. You can do this by contacting the ward directly after 10am. Please do not just turn up as you will be turned away.
  • You must wear a 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 refuse to comply with these instructions you will not be allowed onto the ward.

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

Information for Carers

  • 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. 

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.
  • You must wear a 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.
  • Try and keep a social distance from people not in your household wherever possible
  • Stay at 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