Emergency Department under severe pressure

10 January 2017

 

 

The Emergency Department at Sunderland Royal Hospital has experienced extremely high levels of attendances over the last week, which unfortunately has meant some patients waiting longer than we would like.

Every winter is a time of pressure for the NHS, both locally and nationally. Cold weather means more slips and trips, as well as coughs, colds and other viruses being passed around as we spend more time indoors.  This in turn can lead to an increase in respiratory illnesses and increased hospital admissions among people who are frail, elderly or have chronic and long-term conditions.

Our staff are working hard to ensure that seasonal pressures are well managed however to help us ensure those most in need of care are seen quickly, please only attend the Emergency Department or use the 999 service for serious and life-threatening emergencies which include:

  • a major accident
  • broken bones
  • breathing problems
  • severe chest pains
  • unconsciousness
  • suspected stroke
  • severe blood loss

If you’re unsure about which service to access and need medical advice call NHS 111. They can advise on alternative local NHS services available. If NHS 111 gives you advice, then please follow it – by doing this you’re helping the NHS make the best use of resources.  Alternatively, there are a number of Urgent Care Centres in Sunderland, Houghton and Washington.  For information on location and opening hours click here.

If you’re normally healthy and have a winter illness such as a cough or a cold, your local pharmacist is available for advice and can help you stock up on over the counter medication.

For more information about keeping well in winter, visit http://www.urgentoremergency.co.uk/.

 

Warning from region’s hospital bosses on misuse of A&E services

Featured

5 January 2017

Health bosses in the north east have issued a stark warning to members of the public who are misusing emergency NHS services, putting unnecessary pressure on hospitals and putting more seriously ill patients at risk.

Between 1 December and Christmas Day, over 53,000 people attended major A&E departments in hospitals across the north east* yet less than 30%, just over 15,000 people, actually needed admission to hospital for emergency treatment.

Emergency hospital teams are calling upon the public to stop misusing A&E services for minor ailments which are not serious or life threatening.  Examples over the festive season from right across the north east include people attending A&E with:

  • backache
  • toothache
  • broken finger nails
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • coughs, colds and sore throats
  • sickness and diarrhoea.

Mr David Evans chairs one of the region’s A&E delivery boards and is chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.  On behalf of all NHS providers in the north east, he said: “Emergency departments right across the region are extremely busy and people must start taking accountability for their actions and the impact this has on the NHS.

“Our message is very simple, if it is not a serious or life threatening emergency then please do not waste the time of busy hospital teams or 999 services who are there to look after patients who are very sick and who do need immediate medical help.

“Many of the attendances the region’s hospitals are seeing are for common winter illnesses such as bad colds, viruses or stomach bugs which always circulate in the community at this time of year.  These are best looked after at home with over the counter medication, plenty of fluids, rest and recuperation – they certainly do not need a trip to A&E.”

The NHS always sees a rise in emergency admissions to hospital at this time of year, particularly amongst older people, who are much more susceptible to serious illness or injury during the cold winter months.  For every inappropriate A&E attendance – a broken finger nail, a sore throat or a stomach bug – the attention of hospital staff is pulled away from caring for those who really do need immediate and potentially lifesaving help.

Emergency 999 calls have also risen by a third in the last two weeks, putting enormous pressure on the North East Ambulance Service.  Chief operating officer, Paul Liversidge, said: “We are currently experiencing unprecedented demand and are prioritising our response to those whose life is most at risk. The public can help us reach those patients who need us most by only dialling 999 in the event of a serious emergency.  Patients without a potentially life threatening condition are likely to wait longer than usual for an ambulance response.”

Mr Evans added: “Every year the NHS makes the same plea to the public and every year we continue to see inappropriate A&E attendances rise.  For too long, A&E has become the default option for too many people and this simply has to change for the future of the NHS.

“Our emergency system is without doubt the best in the world but we need to keep it that way and keep 999 and emergency care free to do what the NHS does best.  This starts with people taking more accountability.  We are appealing to the public conscience today and for everyone to really think about how use services.”

The region’s NHS is reminding the public that your GP should always be the first port of call for most medical problems unless it is a serious or life threatening emergency.  If in doubt, the free NHS 111 number is available 24/7 for expert medical advice.

Healthcare leaders in the north east are also backing the national Stay Well This Winter campaign which encourages people to look after themselves well www.nhs.uk/staywell.

 

Stay Well This Winter

winter-readyGenerally we feel unwell during winter time as we spend more time indoors and coughs and colds are passed around our family, friends and colleagues at work.

If you are normally healthy there are many winter ailments and illnesses that can be easily treated at home with the aid of some common sense advice and a range of medicines you can buy from a shop or local pharmacy.

To help you during the winter months, visit NHS Choices to find out how you can treat some of those common winter illnesses or we have a handy guide below.

 

If you need advice your local pharmacist can help

Pharmacists are experts in the use of medicines and are able to diagnose and offer treatment for a range of minor illnesses and ailments immediately, without the need to make an appointment. They are open long hours, at weekends and evenings and there are many pharmacies on the local high street and in supermarkets.

They can give advice, or where appropriate, medicines that can help to clear up the problem and offer a range of branded or non-branded medicines. If you have any questions about the differences between these products they would be happy to talk to you.

Instead of booking an appointment with your GP, you can see your local pharmacist any time by just walking in.

 

Make sure you have repeat prescriptions

If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you or your family have enough medicine to last over the festive period. Many of the calls to out of hours health services are for emergency repeat prescriptions when people have run out of their medication – a situation that could be avoided with some forethought and planning. By thinking ahead for your regular medication you are helping our busy out of hours doctors and nurses.

 

Need advice outside GP practice opening hours

If you need to see a GP when the practice is closed, contact the NHS 111 service.

 

NHS child health

It’s a real worry when children become ill. Understandably, we don’t want to take any risks.

Parents and carers can now find NHS advice at their fingertips to help you look after their children’s health. ‘Looking after your child’s health.’ is an important NHS guide for parents and carers of children aged 0-5 years.

Download the free NHS app today! Just search for ‘NHS child health’ on Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

 

Find out more at www.urgentoremergency.co.uk

 

 

Dialysis patients start home treatment this Christmas

21 December 2016

A group of 4 patients who receive regular dialysis from the Renal Team at City Hospitals Sunderland will have an early Christmas present this year.

All 4 patients have end stage renal disease where their kidneys no longer function well enough to meet the needs of daily life and need treatment with regular haemodialysis in the Renal Satellite Dialysis Units at Washington or Durham.

In recent weeks each patient has been selected, along with a group of 20 other patients, to be trained in dialysis self-care and their homes have undergone minor alteration to facilitate the equipment for this vital life-saving treatment. By April it is hoped that all 20 patients will be treating themselves at home, with more and more patients being added to this programme throughout 2017.

This new service provision is the vision set out by the clinical lead Dr Saeed Ahmed or the future home dialysis programme and has been made possible by a long term programme of shared or self-care patient training led by Laura Thompson, manager of the Renal Satellite Unit and her nursing teams at Washington and Durham.

Dr Ahmed said “Following a trip to the USA I wanted to develop this type of dialysis for our patients as I knew it would have a really positive impact not only on their kidney function and their health overall but also their quality of life. Our renal team already had a wealth of experience in shared care and we have been able to build on that.”

The Trust is working closely with NxStage® who provides the dialysis equipment and technical support for these patients. NxStage® has made it possible to offer this service to patients as very few alterations are necessary when installing the machines safely into homes.

Patients, and their families, who move to home dialysis can expect their lives to be transformed. No longer will they need to attend the Renal Unit 3 times a week for 4 hours at a time – all year round.  They will be able to choose the best time for them to have their dialysis so it can fit around their lives rather than family and work life having to fit around regular trips to hospital.  Some patients may even choose to dialyse overnight when sleeping if they wish.  More regular therapy can also be undertaken which improves clearances of harmful substances in the blood.    This flexibility can also provide an increased chance of employment for some patients who have struggled to either or retain a job due to the restrictions placed on them by their frequent visits to hospital.

Another added benefit of home haemodialysis is the opportunities for patients and their families to be less restricted in their holiday destinations. Patients who receive haemodialysis within the hospital setting are limited by the need to travel to places  where it’s possible to have their treatment in another dialysis unit and many therefore choose simply not to go on holiday.   By using the home dialysis, they are able to travel anywhere in the UK and independently dialyse almost anywhere that has an electric power supply.

Lisa Towers is one of the patients who has undergone the necessary training in order to home dialyse. Lisa has been attending the hospital for dialysis treatment for many years and has worked with the Renal Team in developing the concept of self-care within the Renal Service at City Hospitals Sunderland and providers support to fellow patients.   Lisa said “Since the beginning of December I’ve been treating myself in my own home and its really made such a difference to me and my family. I’ve regained my independence and confidence which is a great way to start 2017.”

Laura Thompson, Satellite Renal Unit Manager said, “We are delighted that we’re now able to offer this service to our patients. We don’t underestimate how daunting it can be for patients to start taking on some of the clinical aspects of their treatment however I’m delighted at how well our first group of patients have taken to this. We will offer as much support as they need and we hope they are able to enjoy a very special Christmas without the interruption of hospital visits for their treatment.”

Home dialysis is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an option for all patients who are suitable. It recommends 10-15% of dialysis patients in each Trust should receive their dialysis at home. At present only a handful of Trusts have over 10% of home dialysis patients and City Hospitals Sunderland hopes to be within the top 5 providers by the middle of 2017.

For information on dialysis visit

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Dialysis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

 

 

 

Your views are needed about NHS women’s reproductive care (gynaecology) services in South Tyneside and Sunderland

logo

 

 

 

We need your help – please complete our online survey

Have you had experiences gynaecology services provided by South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital?

If so please take part in our online surveyeverything you write will be kept confidential and will inform how we can make improvements to local services in the future.

How you can get involved

We would be grateful if you could complete the survey by Friday 23 December 2016.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Partnership

 

Further information

  • This is part of a NHS programme of service improvement work called ‘The Path to Excellence’. You can read more about this on our website https://pathtoexcellence.org.uk.
  • You can read the main issues in one of our key documents – this contains information about some of the challenges we face.
  • Any future changes to the way gynaecology care services are organised would only be made in order to improve the safety, care and future sustainability of those services.
  • If there are any changes proposed to the way women’s reproductive healthcare (gynaecology) services are organised across the two areas, then these would be subject to a formal public consultation which would give people the opportunity to consider proposals and influence the outcome.

 

Your views are needed about NHS children’s healthcare services in South Tyneside and Sunderland

logo

 

 

 

We need your help – please complete our online survey

Have you had experiences children’s healthcare services provided by South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital?

If so please take part in our online survey – everything you write will be kept confidential and will inform how we can make improvements to local services in the future.

How you can get involved

We would be grateful if you could complete the survey by 12pm (midday) on Wednesday 28 December 2016.

Posted on behalf of the South Tyneside & Sunderland NHS Partnership

Further Information

This is part of a NHS programme of service improvement work called ‘The Path to Excellence’. You can read more about this on our website https://pathtoexcellence.org.uk.

You can read the main issues in one of our key documents – this contains information about some of the challenges we face.

Any future changes to the way paediatric care services are organised would only be made in order to improve the safety, care and future sustainability of those services.

If there are any changes proposed to the way children’s healthcare (paediatric) services are organised across the two areas, then these would be subject to a formal public consultation which would give people the opportunity to consider proposals and influence the outcome.

 

General Health Advice This Winter

Generally we feel unwell during winter time as we spend more time indoors and coughs and colds are passed around our family, friends and colleagues at work.

If you are normally healthy there are many winter ailments and illnesses that can be easily treated at home with the aid of some common sense advice and a range of medicines you can buy from a shop or local pharmacy.

To help you during the winter months, visit NHS Choices to find out how you can treat some of those common winter illnesses or we have a handy guide below.

If you need advice your local pharmacist can help

Pharmacists are experts in the use of medicines and are able to diagnose and offer treatment for a range of minor illnesses and ailments immediately, without the need to make an appointment. They are open long hours, at weekends and evenings and there are many pharmacies on the local high street and in supermarkets.

They can give advice, or where appropriate, medicines that can help to clear up the problem and offer a range of branded or non-branded medicines. If you have any questions about the differences between these products they would be happy to talk to you.

Instead of booking an appointment with your GP, you can see your local pharmacist any time by just walking in.

Make sure you have repeat prescriptions

If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you or your family have enough medicine to last over the festive period. Many of the calls to out of hours health services are for emergency repeat prescriptions when people have run out of their medication – a situation that could be avoided with some forethought and planning. By thinking ahead for your regular medication you are helping our busy out of hours doctors and nurses.

Know when your GP surgery will be open

Your local GP practice will be closed over the festive period and may also offer limited appointments around Christmas and New Year. If you need to see a GP when the practice is closed, contact the NHS 111 service.

NHS child health

It’s a real worry when children become ill. Understandably, we don’t want to take any risks.

Parents and carers can now find NHS advice at their fingertips to help you look after their children’s health. ‘Looking after your child’s health.’ is an important NHS guide for parents and carers of children aged 0-5 years.

Download the free NHS app today! Just search for ‘NHS child health’ on Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

Find out more at www.urgentoremergency.co.uk

 

 

 

Think GP or Pharmacy Before A&E this Christmas

21 December 2016

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NHS England is urging people the North East to see a pharmacist or make an appointment to see a GP, for non-emergency health issues, over the Christmas and New Year period.

To help ease the pressure at a very busy time of year for A&E departments, people are being asked to call 111 to make a GP appointment or to visit a local pharmacy. In most cases, this will mean they receive the advice and care they need much quicker.

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

Jonathan Slade, medical director for NHS England Cumbria and the North East, said: “The main message we want to get across is that a number of GPs and pharmacists across the region are open for business over the Christmas and New Year holidays. We’d like to reassure people that if they call 111, they will be allocated an appointment should they need one.  This is a particularly important message for older people, people with long-term health conditions and parents.

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

“Our A&E departments get extremely busy during this time 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 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.

NHS England is also encouraging people to make sure that their medicine cabinet and first aid kits are well stocked before the festive period and that repeat prescriptions are collected well before Christmas and New Year.

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, during the Christmas and New Year period, click here.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

City Hospitals Carol Service 2016

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

at 6 pm in the Chapel at Sunderland Royal Hospital

Members of the public, patients and staff are all welcome to attend

Come along and sing traditional carols, enjoy familiar readings and share a mince pie afterwards.  

At 6.20pm we will move outside to sing as we gather at the Christmas tree at the Main Entrance of Sunderland Royal Hospital so please bring a coat.   Please come and join the hospital choir and bring  friends and family to share in this time together.