CHS sweeps the board at Sunderland and South Tyneside Health Awards

City Hospitals Sunderland swept the board with a whopping seven category wins at the Sunderland and South Tyneside Health Awards.

The Awards, presented by the Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette recognise people across the health sector who provide outstanding patient care and always go the extra mile.

This is a great achievement for the Trust and celebrates the fantastic efforts and dedication of many members of the team.

To top the celebrations off, Director of Corporate Affairs and Legal, Carol Harries was presented with the Special Recognition Award, chosen by the Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette. Carol has been with the Trust since 1972 and was hailed as a ‘great ambassador for Sunderland’.

Here are the list of winners and nominees from Sunderland City Hospitals Trust:

Special Recognition Award (chosen by the Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette)

Winner – Carol Harries, Director of Corporate Affairs and Legal

Hospital Doctor of the Year

Winner – Chris Phillips, ED Consultant

Nominees – Ralph Marsh, Consultant Radiologist and Hilary Turner, Consultant Anaesthetist.

Nurse of the Year

Winner – Sue Crossman, Nurse Manager, Colposcopy

Nominees – Lesley Waugh (Phoenix Unit) and Lesley Taylor (Ward F61)

Therapist of the Year

Nominee – Christina Harrison, Physio Technical Instructor

Care Worker of the Year

Nominee – Sammy Jo Green

Midwife of the Year

Winners – Catherine Carter, Substance Misuse Midwife and Janette Johnson, ANNB Screening Lead

Pharmacist of the Year

Nominee – Thomas Harris, ED Pharmacist

Team of the Year

Winner – Renal Satellite Units

Nominees – Neonatal Unit and Haygarth Ward (Sunderland Eye Infirmary)

Customer Service / Unsung Hero Award

Winner – Steven Hogg, Volunteer

Nominees – Emelita Berber Smith, Clerical Officer, OPD Helpdesk and Jacqui Christie, Cancer Imaging Service Co-ordinator

Health Care Scientist

Winner – Neurophysiology

Long Term Achievement

Nominee – Helen Blackman, Sister, Renal Unit


Star Award for Paediatric Team

Our Paediatrics Team has been presented with the Healthwatch Sunderland Star Award.

The Award is given in recognition of the continuing positive feedback received about staff and services over a period of time.

Healthwatch Sunderland’s main role is to listen and collate people view of health and social care services within Sunderland. To ensure that these services or individuals get to hear about the great feedback given about them, a star award was introduced.

Matron, Rachel Patterson joined colleagues in the Niall Quin Children’s Centre to receive the award.

 Some of the feedback received by Healthwatch Sunderland included:

“The consultant was fantastic, all staff we came into contact with at the centre were fantastic, friendly and patient and I cannot praise them enough.”

“Helpful & nicest people, doctor is so down to earth, helpful, doctor is an outstanding person & it is a great pleasure.”

“Care was really good, All the nurses and doctors were very friendly, they had already read the notes and our history of treatment.”

Commenting on the Star Award, a spokesperson said: “Healthwatch Sunderland is proud to recognise the contribution staff and services make to the success of social care and health services in our city. The people and teams that go the extra mile to make your experiences great are all stars and deserve to be congratulated.”

The power of 3D in relieving pain

New pain distraction units (V-pods) have been gifted to City Hospitals Sunderland Foundation Trust by the Children’s Foundation

The charity raises funds for projects and services in the North East and North Cumbria that improve the mental and physical health of our children and young people – and this is a prime example of them delivering at the coalface.

For many children, a visit to hospital can be a scary, painful and traumatic experience, leaving them anxious about future visits. For small children, especially, it can be difficult to get them to relax during treatments. The V-pods – designed and produced by Amazing Interactives in Stockton on Tees – come with a wide range of interactive 3-D displays and can be used to distract, calm and engage the young person before and during painful or unpleasant procedures. This has proved to be a huge asset to medical staff and patients alike.

Rachel Patterson, Children’s Matron, Paediatric Services, at Sunderland says: “Our new V-pod will be used in our busy children’s surgical ward, where young people undergo ENT, orthopaedic, dental and maxillofacial, and general surgery. Around two to five children on the ward will be using the V-pods on a daily basis and the type of treatments taking place while the V-pod is used will include distraction from interventions such as blood taking, suture removal and wound checks.”

Dr Rhona McCrone, Paediatric Emergency Medicine Consultant, Sunderland Royal Hospital: “The V-pod is a fantastic innovation that makes procedures less anxiety-provoking for both the children and their families. We’re immensely grateful to The Children’s Foundation for helping us install another one at this hospital, to add to the one they’ve already funded in our Niall Quinn Children’s Unit.”

The charity’s Kerry McCormack says: “One V-Pod costs £10,000, and we can only continue to deliver this extraordinary service through donations from the general public and our corporate partners and their employees.”

City Hospitals Sunderland cements its commitment to the armed forces by signing a special covenant with the Ministry of Defence

City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has signed a special covenant that formally outlines how we pledge to support the armed forces and their families within the hospital and the local community.

Chief Executive, Ken Bremner was joined by Lieutenant General Robin Brims CBE, who is Chairman of the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association North East and was undertaking his first official engagement as High Sheriff for the County of Tyne and Wear.

The Trust has already been recognised as being an armed forces friendly organisation and was awarded the silver employer recognition award in November 2016 for the work we have already done to champion staff members who are serving personnel or reservists and the employment opportunities we provide for veterans young and old. The Trust also supports various events throughout the year, such as Armed Forces Day and Medical Challenge and have a dedicated intranet page and Armed Forces Champion, Kath Griffin, who is also our Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development.

Specific policies are also in place to support employee reservists and military families. They include special leave for staff to attend training and any other required duties; flexibility in granting leave for service spouses and partners before, during or after deployment; providing priority care for veterans where is relates to their service and supporting employment opportunities for veterans of all ages, along with spouses and partners of military personnel.

Also present on behalf of the Trust were Mr Ben Banerjee, Consultant Vascular Surgeon and Kelly Bennett, Patient Flow Manager and Night Matron. Ben and Kelly have both served in the reserve forces for a number of years, along with 13 other colleagues in the Trust, and are huge advocates of the many benefits that organisations can gain from supporting and employing military personnel and veterans.

Mr Banerjee followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Army Reserves, where he has remained for the last 27 years. Now Commanding Officer of 201 Field Hospital, Newcastle, he has been deployed four times whilst working for the Trust and credits the support of colleagues as instrumental in allowing him to take on these extra duties.

Ben said: “Having an employer who values the work we do as reservists is enormously important. My last three deployments have been to Afghanistan and the support I have received from the Trust has been on many levels. I have been granted leave, colleagues have stepped in to provide cover and several members of the Trust have sent me letters, parcels and cakes whilst deployed. There is no better training ground than in a war zone. You have limited supplies and have to be calm and make decisions quickly. I use this experience in my day to day role and share my experiences with colleagues.”

Kelly, who is currently a Major in the Army Reserves, used the experience she gained in the forces to advance her career at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Kelly said: “When I joined the Army Reserves 11 years ago, the Trust supported me with my training and then further supported me when I went to Sandhurst Military Academy and then on to Camp Bastion. I have gained so much from being a reserve. I’m now a ski instructor, a mountain bike leader and have trekked in Morocco and Sierra Nevada.

“Joining the Army Reserves has enriched my life in so many ways. My nursing skills have advanced, I have gained confidence in my leadership abilities and I bring the army ethos of team work to my job. I am grateful to be part of an organisation that actively supports reserves and has the highest number of reservists proportionate to employees.”

Ken Bremner, Chief Executive of City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have 15 Trust employees who are reserves within the armed forces, including the British Army and Royal Navy and there are up to 8,000 others employed within the NHS. The UK heavily relies on the contribution made by our reservists and the armed forces and we very much recognise the values that they bring to the Trust. We also employ a number of veterans and are looking at initiatives that will provide work placement opportunities and guaranteed interviews where they have skills that match a role. We welcome the support of the Ministry of Defence and hope to continue to foster relationships to encourage more organisations to follow this same ethos.”

Gary McLafferty, the MoD’s Employer Engagement Director commented: “The nations Armed Services depend heavily on the reserves for all activities including missions within the UK and overseas. Specialist areas such as healthcare require close partnership with civilian employers in order to achieve the outstanding standards demonstrated over the past 15 years. It is very much a two way street in terms of learning, training and delivering. The Armed Forces Covenant binds this relationship formally and publically and recognises the value to society of former and current servicing personnel.”


New specialist treatment centre will expand key services in Durham

How the centre will look when complete in Spring 2018

Ben Jenkins, Consultant Urological Surgeon and Clinical Director of Urology, Wayne Carr, Director at Choice facilities services, Ian Martin, Medical Director and Ken Bremner, Chief Executive

We have started works on a new specialist treatment centre in Durham which is due to open in Spring 2018.

The two-storey diagnostic and treatment centre has been designed to give people across Durham easier access to key services such as renal dialysis, ophthalmology and day surgery. We have developed the project in partnership with Ashley House PLC.

The purpose built health care hub will increase the services and choice available to our patients in the Durham area and give them access to specialist services without the need to travel to Sunderland Royal Hospital or Sunderland Eye Infirmary.

We will move the services we currently provide through hospitals, GP practices and health centres across Durham, and house them all within the new centre. In addition to the new dialysis unit, there will also be a daycase theatre, recovery area, outpatient procedure room, consultation rooms and X-ray facilities.

The building will increase the capacity of renal dialysis services that we currently offer in Durham

as well as expand Urology, Ophthalmology and Nephrology Services and ENT outpatient clinics. As a result, fewer patients will have to travel to Sunderland for treatment, removing pressure on other NHS services, increasing capacity for care and reducing patient waiting times.

Ken Bremner, Chief Executive of City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’m delighted that work has started on our new diagnostic and treatment centre. This facility will not only provide a range of key services in much closer proximity to Durham, but it will allow us to expand and improve those services for the benefit of many of our patients who currently have to travel to Sunderland to receive the care they need.”

The building, once complete, will be 2,500m2 and will be accessible to people across the City. The project will be delivered by developer, Ashley House plc who have engaged funders Assura PLC, architects P+HS and Durham- based Esh Build.

Jonathan Holmes, Ashley House’s Commercial Director said: “As a social developer we have worked closely with the Trust and its clinicians to ensure we are delivering an innovative facility helping local people access the highest quality services closer to home. We are particularly pleased to be working with partners that share our values and ensure the local economy benefits from the construction as well as the health services into the future.”

Assura’s Development Manager, Paul Warwick added: “This is about building for the NHS of the future – a future in which patients won’t always have to travel to hospital for tests and treatment, and in which diagnostic and treatment centres are fit for the job they need to do. We’re very proud to be funding this centre and look forward to seeing it take shape.”

Paul Redman, divisional director of Esh Build, said: “The Esh Build team is excited to begin work on this important new centre for Durham and the North East. The Diagnostic and Treatment Centre will provide cutting edge facilities that meet the demands of modern healthcare. Esh Build specialises in detailed, technical properties for the healthcare sector, and we look forward to delivering this centre for Ashley House PLC.”

Wayne Carr Director for City Hospitals Independent Commercial Enterprises LTD (CHoICE) “We are delighted to be project managing this exciting development on behalf of City Hospitals Sunderland. Our dedicated team will work closely with all parties to ensure a high quality, state of the art facility to deliver excellent patient care. With CHoICE Facilities Services’ commitment to service excellence, we are at the forefront of improving the value of NHS support services”.


This Easter think GP or Pharmacy before our Emergency Department

7 April 2017


People across the North East are being asked to help ease the pressure on NHS Emergency Department services over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

To help ease the pressure at a very busy time of year for Emergency Departments, the NHS is asking people with non-emergency health issues to call 111 to make a GP appointment or to visit a local pharmacy. In most cases, this will mean they receive the most appropriate advice and care much quicker.

Although some GP practices and pharmacies are closed over Easter, the NHS has been working to ensure people across the region will be able to access a GP appointment or pharmacist should they need one.

Chris Gray, medical director for NHS England Cumbria and the North East, said:

“If people have a non-emergency health problem over the Easter weekend, they should please call 111 to make an appointment with a GP. By doing this, they will receive the most appropriate care and advice and, in most cases, will be seen quicker than if they go to an Emergency Department.

“Pharmacists can also provide instant, confidential advice and treatment for minor illnesses, without the need to make an appointment.

“This is a plea for people to use our NHS services responsibly to make sure that NHS staff, who work incredibly hard around the clock, can provide appropriate care to patients.

“Our Emergency Departments can get extremely busy over bank holidays and we want to ensure that patients who really need emergency care receive the quickest possible treatment they need, and that people who can be cared for elsewhere are not waiting in accident and emergency departments.

Advice for parents is also available on the free NHS child health app. The app has been developed by doctors, health visitors and pharmacists and can be downloaded from Google Play or Apple’s App Store, search NHS child health.

People are also being asked to make sure that their medicine cabinet and first aid kits are well stocked before Easter arrives and that repeat prescriptions are collected well before the bank holiday weekend.

Many urgent care and walk-in centres will also be open. To find out which services are open and at what times, call 111.

For local pharmacy opening hours, over the Easter period, people should log onto

People can access information about walk-in centres, urgent care centres or minor injuries units by logging onto The NHS Choices website They can type in their postcode on the website to find their nearest services.


Colliery Tavern Sunderland fundraiser more than pint sized

13 Feb 2017

Many SAFC fans will recognise the Colliery Tavern on Southwick Road besides the Stadium of Light – favourite pub of many for a post-match pint. Pub landlord Mr John Snaith is renowned as a match day host, but recently proved his hand at fundraising too.

The cheque handover at Sunderland Royal Hospital ward C30

After receiving care at Sunderland Royal Hospital, Mr Snaith decided to say thank you by fundraising for City Hospitals Sunderland Charity, specifically to help patients receiving colorectal surgery.

Mr James Royle, General Surgery Consultant at Sunderland Royal Hospital, was on hand to accept the cheque from Mr Snaith and explained the difference the fundraising will make.

“We hope to purchase some more special pressure relieving cushions for patients who have had rectal cancer surgery.

“We were absolutely blown away by Mr Snaith’s brilliant idea to run a fundraiser at his pub, and thrilled to see the local community getting involved and support their local hospital and the Colorectal Unit. Their generosity is amazing – the event has really meant a lot to all our staff.”

“I would like to personally thank Mr Snaith and his wife for their wonderful contribution and generosity – they are definitely local heroes!”

Regulars and guests descended on the Colliery Tavern late last year for the evening fundraiser, which Mr Snaith described as a terrific night. He wishes to extend his thanks to all those who attended, for a fantastic atmosphere as well as the amazing £1,620.57 they managed to raise.

The total could increase to more than two and a half thousand if applications for matched funding are successful, but even as it stands, Mr Snaith’s and his regular’s fundraising stands to make a huge difference in the lives of colorectal patients at Sunderland Royal Hospital today.

City Hospitals Sunderland Charity wishes to thank Mr Snaith, his family and regular patrons for their dedication and kindness. Their community spirit and generosity are what makes Sunderland a city to be proud of.

Act F.A.S.T. campaign returns to empower people to call 999 at any sign of a stroke

2 February 2017


City Hospitals Sunderland is supporting the annual ‘Act F.A.S.T.’ stroke campaign.

Today, Public Health England will relaunch the national “Act FAST” stroke campaign, working closely with the Stroke Association. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke and to encourage people who recognise any single one of the symptoms of stroke, in themselves or others, to call 999 immediately.

Running from until 31 March 2017 the campaign includes TV, radio, social media and outdoor advertising and is supported by PR

The F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) acronym has featured in the advertising for a number of years and is a simple test to help people identify the most common signs of a stroke, and to emphasise the importance of acting quickly by calling 999. F.A.S.T. teaches people what to look out for in themselves and in others:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time to call 999 There are some of other symptoms that people should be aware of as these may occasionally be due to stroke.

These include:

  •  Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion
  • Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other symptoms

Acting F.A.S.T. as soon as stroke symptoms present themselves can not only save lives but potentially limit long-term effects.

A stroke is a ‘brain attack’, caused by a disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. It’s a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. So recognising the signs of stroke and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial.

There are over 100,000 strokes a year in the UK, causing over 40,000 deaths with two thirds of stroke survivors leaving hospital with a disability.

The sooner somebody who is having a stroke gets urgent medical attention, the better their chances of a good recovery.

One of the main objectives of the campaign is get people who witness somebody showing stroke symptoms to overcome any initial reluctance to call. They are being asked to ‘Make the Call’ and dial 999.

Act FAST. Make the Call. Dial 999.

More information can be found in the leaflet attached to this page or search ‘Act FAST’ for more information.

Act FAST Leaflet