Children's A&E service to move from South Tyneside Hospital

Healthcare leaders have confirmed changes to children’s A&E services in South Tyneside will take place over summer.

On Wednesday 4 August 2021, children’s A&E services at South Tyneside District Hospital will change to become a new nurse-led urgent care service. The nearest children's A&E service will be at Sunderland Royal Hospital instead.

‘South Tyneside Urgent Care for Children’ will be open from 8am until 10pm every day, based in the same location at South Tyneside District Hospital. The service will see and treat children who attend hospital with urgent, but not life threatening, problems.

It will be staffed by nurse practitioners who have trained and worked in emergency care over many years - the new nurse-led urgent care service in South Tyneside will treat children from birth, up to the age of 16, for a range of injuries and illnesses which are urgent but not life threatening.

This includes, for example:

  • Broken bones

  • Children who have breathing problems such as asthma

  • Common childhood infections in the chest, ears or throat

  • Children who are being sick or have diarrhoea

  • Cuts and open wounds that need closing

  • Minor burns

  • Minor bumps or head injuries

  • Sprained ankles or strained muscles

The South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust says the nurses that will operate the unit do many of the things that traditionally would have been done by a doctor in the past such as organising diagnostic tests, scans or x-rays, interpreting the results and beginning treatment.

As part of the change, children with any major, life threatening problems will be cared for at Sunderland Royal Hospital, as they already are overnight. The trust says any children who arrive in South Tyneside and need more specialist care, will be safely transferred.

Clinical Director and Consultant Paediatrician at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Lorna Gillespie, says, “This is an important change to our children’s A&E service in South Tyneside and we want to make sure people are aware that we will be moving to a nurse-led urgent care service.

“As always, we would remind people to call NHS 111 if they need urgent medical advice about their child and, of course, dial 999 in a life threatening emergency.

“Our team has been fantastic in helping us prepare for this change and will, without doubt, continue to provide a vital service for children in South Tyneside for many years to come.”

Dr Neil O’Brien, Accountable Officer for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham says, “This is an important milestone in the transformation of our local hospital services and, following the decisions made three years ago, means the future of paediatric services in South Tyneside is now secure given the very fragile medical staffing challenges being faced.

“I would like to thank all those involved, in particular the children’s nursing team in South Tyneside, for their hard work and commitment to delivering this change which will offer a fantastic new service to the local population.”

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust says it is working closely with all health and care partners, including local GPs and the North East Ambulance Services to ensure a smooth transition to the new nurse-led urgent care service.