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Friarage paediatric unit to shut early

The opening times of the short-stay paediatric assessment unit (SSPAU) at the Friarage Hospital are being temporarily changed from later this week due to staffing pressures.

Currently the children’s unit opens from 10am to 10pm, but from Saturday 17 January it will close at the earlier time of 8pm Monday to Friday and 5pm on weekends and Bank Holidays.

Doctors insist the impact on patients will be minimal because they say very few children attend the unit after 8pm, or after 5pm on weekends.

The SSPAU opened in October 2014 following changes to children’s and maternity services at the Friarage.

The hospital says that, despite efforts to recruit consultants, the paediatric consultant team has a shortfall staff.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Ginny Birrell said: “Unfortunately we can’t sustain the level of service we currently provide for children so, in the short-term, we’ve taken the decision to reduce our opening times.

“We do not anticipate these changes will impact on our patients, as very few children attend the unit after the times we’re temporarily changing to, but we will be closely monitoring the situation with a further review in April.”

Gateshead woman visits A&E almost 500 times last year

A woman from Gateshead could be the most frequent visitor to a casualty department in the UK.

The unknown 29-year-old visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead 483 times last year.

In the wake of figures showing that A&E waiting times are the worst they've been for a decade, new figures have revealed that some patients are attending A&E hundreds of times a year.

The woman is just one of dozens of serial visitors who regularly arrive at A&E. Last year a 46-year-old woman visited the QE 179 times and a 38-year-old man attended the hospital 110 times.

"Like every other hospital in the country, the A&E department at the Queen Elizabeth in Gateshead has a duty of care to see every patient who comes through our doors.

"We would always encourage patients to come and see us if they need urgent medical attention.

"If they don’t need urgent medical attention but still need to see a healthcare professional, we would advise patients to call 111 who can direct them to the best place to be seen whether that’s a walk in centre, their GP, pharmacy or even a dentist."

– Spokesperson for the Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust


NHS bosses say services transferred for 'safety and quality'

Medical director for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust Dr David Emerton, who is also a consultant in accident and emergency, said:

We totally respect people’s right to protest about issues which concern them. However we would like to emphasise that the centralisation of services at the University Hospital of North Tees was driven by our clinicians, is fully supported by our commissioners and was done purely for reasons of safety and quality.

What was acceptable in terms of clinical practice in the health service 10 or even five years ago is no longer acceptable because medicine has moved on. We have to ensure our services can meet the higher standards now expected.

– Dr David Emeron, Medical director for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

Campaigners march against Hartlepool hospital cuts

Campaigners gather at Seaton Carew Credit: ITV

Hundreds of campaigners have gathered in protest against the reduction of services at Hartlepool General Hospital.

It forms part of a long-running hospital saga, in which key services were transferred to Stockton and a proposed new hospital at Wynyard was delayed.

The protesters are marching from Seaton Carew to Hartlepool this morning.


Major Incident 'Stood Down' at Scarborough Hospital

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has ‘stood down’ the major incident at Scarborough Hospital, which was declared yesterday as a result of unprecedented pressure on its services.

The major incident was declared at the North Yorkshire hospital after 'overwhelming numbers of people' were using the accident and emergency unit.

It's been a lot of hard work over the past 48 hours but we have discharged more people. We've been working with various agencies such as the social services, who have provided nursing home beds.

We have opened up extra beds and are now at a point where we have enough room for the night.

But the situation will be reviewed again in the morning.

– Spokesperson for Scarborough General Hospital
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